The day it snowed in LA
And frost settled on Satanâ€™s citrus groves,
Strange white objects, drifting from the sky,
Landed on some B-list producerâ€™s hybrid Yukon.
They smashed their cars into cars
bent themselves around Adopt-A-Highway signs
plowed into a carniceria
(there were no plows to run into)
And I laughed
Like the anchormen back home always laugh
when they run footage of the first ice storm in Dallas or Flagstaff
or wherever there are pansy-ass Southerners
who donâ€™t know how to drive in winter.
The snowdust burned off.
Traffic was about as bad as usual.
Campus lies somewhere at the bottom of a 50 degree puddle that
The flipflop girls turn to whine.
Shameful, I think, as I march for the door--
Jesus H. Christ on a frozen cracker!
On my way, a million memories turned excuses--
kids in the backseat waiting for the engine to heat up the car
shoppers crossing Nicollet on the skyway rhizome
boots and hats and scarves melting in the mudroom
I have a pool but no parka.
I have crocs but no car.
But I have what I have because I left what I donâ€™t.
I chose palm trees and mountains
over dead leaves and gritty March snowpack shells.
Over the graceful New Yearâ€™s whisper
of an ice-cold bumper kissing a bank of plow-tossed snow
I chose four hundred mangled cars.
In Lake Wobegon, they say
the Southern mind, basking in the sun,
gets soft, and slow, and simple.
Out on the North Shore, or the windswept western prairie,
the weather keeps our wits sharp,
the way October snow cuts cheeks like ice shards in the gale.
Dad says he worries about me.
I wonâ€™t ever admit it
But when the winter dips to minus 30
(as it always seems to when Iâ€™m there)
When the infernal window draft pinches any sleeping toe or bare shoulder
When the wind is an icicle crucifixion
and thereâ€™s no one there to share the bed
I shake like in the California night rain.
The weather is our Paris Hilton--
We canâ€™t stop talking about it.
The weather column reads like a tabloid:
grown men unable to untie their frozen shoelaces for an hour,
YouTube videos of frictionless cars,
crocuses in February.
But we will never complain
Not even about that one family that died of exposure on the side of a gravel road
Itâ€™s cold, but itâ€™s been colder
So go put on another sweater!
And God only help you if you compare prairie whiteout blizzards
to that one time it snowed in LA.
Finals week and everyoneâ€™s screaming.
He wraps lights around a prickly pear; she garlands a palm.
Finals week and itâ€™s raining again.
At home itâ€™s positive 6.
Finals week and itâ€™s all overdue.
No time to sleep, or eat, or wish for death.
I can hardly wait.
Keep your palm trees and your mountains.
Keep your desert and your drainage problems.
Iâ€™m coming home to a white Christmas.