Flash fiction (poetry): Snow Day by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a poem or story in which one of the characters is a weather, personified—either implicitly or explicitly.

Today’s story comes to us from Val Muller, author of the kidlit Corgi Capers mystery series. Find out more at corgicapers.com

 

Snow Day

By Val Muller

 

Sitting at my desk in the darkness of night,
The fatigue weighs heavily:
Maybe it’s the time change that makes
The sun seem to set just past noon,
Or maybe something else.

Papers to grade,
Papers to grade,
Lessons to plan.

This year: so tough,
Students struggling
Post-pandemic.
Post?
Not quite.
They sit together,
Isolated,
Forgotten how to socialize,
Forgotten how to care.

They need extra
Motivation,
Help,
Support.
Demand is constant.

In my office, the sun has sunk away.
The room is blue, a computer’s glow.
I reach for the lamp
When I see a face pressed against the glass
Of the office door.

Can I come in, Mommy?

Yes, honey. I’m just trying
To finish some work before bed.

Mommy, this year you are
Always trying to finish work.
Do you want to play with me? 

Of course I do, but this work
Won’t do itself.
If I don’t do this now,
There’ll be no lesson tomorrow,
No plan for the morning.
I’m barely keeping up.

But I say: “In a minute.”

Mommy, I was born in a blizzard.  

I know. It’s a fact
She tells anyone who will listen.
The pride of her four years.

Yes, you know, but did you know
I have blizzard powers?  

What kind of powers?

I’m an ice princess.

Of course. I nod. She’s watched
Frozen one too many times.
Why don’t you go watch a movie?
Or ask Dad to read to you?

She looks me deep in the eye and shakes her head.

No movie, Mommy. 

Maybe go color, then?

She likes that.
She skips to her marker bin,
Presses paper against the window,
And colors,
Leaving me again to misery.

I turn on a lamp
And knock out only a handful of essays
When she returns,
A glowing ice princess wand
Illuminating my room.

So many teachers absent.
Always asked to substitute
Instead of plan
Grade
Pee
Breathe.

I love my profession, but I’m not sure
How much longer I can—

This controls my magic,
She says, waving the LED wand.

That’s nice, honey. I have
Twelve more essays, then I’m done,
And when I go in tomorrow—

I’m an ice princess, you know.  

Twelve more.

I have powers. Grownups don’t believe,
But they’ll know when they see—

She returns to her window and
Colors frantically.
Somewhere between twelve to go
And finished, I nod off in my chair.

An hour later, the house is dark.
I have a second wind and knock out
The essays,
Plan for tomorrow,
Pack my lunch,
And start upstairs.

But the window.

I see that she hadn’t in fact
Taped paper to the window.
She colored the window itself
With every color of blue marker
In the house.

Pad to the kitchen, grab cleaner,
Paper towels, patience.
The blue comes off the glass easily.
I shake my head at her
Childlike frivolity.
I know I was like her once,
Having that sense of wonder, where
Everything’s magical
And amazing,
And nothing would stop me
From coloring on glass.
I don’t know when that spirit
Dies in us, but I guess it does.

The window’s clean.

A deer darts across the lawn,
Triggering the neighbor’s porch lamp.
My eye shifts focus from the window glass
To the yard beyond.

My jaw drops.
It’s only November.
How?

The snow is heavy and
Already settling across the driveway
And covering the grass.
If this continues…

No way we have school tomorrow.

I check on her before heading to bed
As the wind picks up, kissing the windows.
The unexpected weather gives me
An unexpected shudder
And thrill:

That strange electric sense of
Being alive—

And suddenly I remember
What it is like to be a child.

My daughter snuggles in her bed,
Her snow wand aglow,
A knowing smile on her face.

It’s not even Thanksgiving,
But I find my Christmas pajamas
And put them on, imagining
A lazy morning tomorrow with
Hot chocolate
Maybe pancakes
Maybe a movie about
A snow princess.

And as tired as I am,
I can’t help but feel
That sense of excitement
That children have,
That electric sense of being alive,
Of being covered in
The magic of the world,
That makes it so difficult
To fall asleep
At night.

 

 

 

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

 

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