Photo by Jackie James

Lake effect stays with you
Through years of travel,
Gain and loss.


Forgetting the chill is impossible.
Indelible in its staying power,

You try
Correcting the — turtle-necked stance —
Ears crushed tight to shoulders.

You practice
Hands gloved, pocketed, protected
In case a classical career crops up.

You shuffle, conserving the energy
Used to move between sole and pavement
Hoping you will outlast the brutal cold.

You surrender,
Decades later, far from any lake
Or variety of the effect.

Your thoughts relive the sensation.
The constant internal shivers
Earthquaking at odd moments.

Fingers cramp,
Nails crack, cuticles dry up
Becoming thorns on the ends of icicles.

Ears regret forgotten muffs.
Lips greasified with layers of balm.
Eyes hooded, preventing any way of clear sight.

You return to Wisconsin,
The private,
Personal path.

A single footprint,
Then the next.

You challenge the snow
While the imperious bluster
Over the waters, 

Only laughs the louder.

Charlene James-Duguid
Amissville, Virginia