Vermont Wintah 1973

Montreal buried by blizzards.
The temp
Minus zero.
I was crashing with two New Zealanders
Across the street
From the Winston Churchill Pub
Only forty feet
Going out for beer a gamble.
Life, death, frozen limbs, or drunk.

The snow chest high.
More snow everyday
More storms on the way
Snowbound for a week.
A day of sun came.
I bid good-bye to my friends
To Marie-claire
A waitress at the pub
“I’ll be back in the spring. Au revoir.”
I hitchhiked south.
Boston bound.
Grey low clouds
Snow dropped like clots of cream

A farmer took me to the border.
I was waved through the frontier.
I stood on the America side.
There were no cars
No trucks
Only snow.
And the cold wind.
Night coming early.
Skin freezing
Bones shivering
Tears of ice.
No traffic
Only snow and cold.

An Oldsmobile Toronado
Front end transmission
A Rocket V8
Over 4000 pounds.
Made for the snow.
It stopped
The lock popped up
I brushed off the snow
Sat inside.
Warmer than warm

The driver was an old woman.
Her headlights barely pierced the snow.
“My name’s Meryl. You want to drive? Can you drive in this.”
“I’m from Maine.”
We switched seats.
I drove 20 mph.
Into the winter night.
The only vehicle on the road.
To Burlington.

I stayed the night
Meryl cooked stew on the potbelly stove.
She lit a fire in the living room.
We talked about the cold.
We were from the North.
The snow howled around her house.
The logs burned in the fireplace.
Wine in our hands.
The room smelled of New England
The North


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