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Snow Thrower
by Amy Jurisich

Was it the Eskimos that have a hundred words for snow? Fluffy snow. Wet snow. Heavy snow. Squeaky snow. If that’s true, then I’ve got a hundred different names for how I hate it. Lateforwork snow. Nomoresunlightforninemonths snow. Anotheryearofmylifeisgone snow. I hate snow. I hate being cold. I hate the way it steals down your lungs and strangles the warmth, like drain cleaner, eating away at everything that was warm pink or fleshy.

The snow made me fat. It took this slender Southern girl’s body. It used my body's fear of freezing to death against it, holding the skinniness hostage until the feeble light of weak tea spring. Even then the sun doesn’t warm the air; that’s not for months later.

And then I’m still cold. They jack up the AC in malls and movie theaters so they can keep tabs on their precious Minnesota heartiness. They need that torture to remind them of their humility and the bargain struck with ancient Nordic winter gods. Their sacrifice grants them leave for four or five lousy feeble summer months in the year.

You have to show me how to start the snow thrower (I’ve learned that snow throwers and snow blowers are not the same species) before you leave. The house will be mine and this will be my sacred Viking duty now.

We stand on the cracked foundation of the garage (another expensive check mark on the housing inspector’s clipboard) and look down at the fire-engine red machine. Why red? Lawn mowers come in bright green to suggest the desired color of the yard you’ll never have despite your best efforts. Shouldn’t snow throwers be white like flat, well-behaved snow? Or perhaps cement gray to suggest the archeological layer of summer?

Push this. Set that switch there. Prime it, see? More smell of gasoline. Tug the cord. A big manly tug I’ll never have the arm strength to mimic. It starts right up with a dangerous purr. Blades gnash the air with idiot glee. They wouldn’t know the difference between snow, concrete or me. I can understand why they’re red.

Amy Jurisch was born and raised in the lost city of New Orleans and now lives well north of the Mason-Dixon line. Although this publication marks her debut, she has been writing since childhood.


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