by Sean Patrick Leary
With mountains all around, we are nestled in.
There is no way in or out
Isolated and cozy under a blanket of cold
There is nothing beyond those peaks
It is all here
We brought no work to be done,
Did not expect to get stuck in God’s snow globe,
With overstocked holiday refrigerators.
Turkey, wine, beer, schnapps.
Snowballs, board games, open houses, crackling fires.
Snow boots, crunching snow, slippery streets.
Through a picture window, a small crooked old church
Under capped peaks, with exposed steeps,
Wooden and whitewashed,
With beckoning bell, so we go
Watch the cowboy preacher.
Boot soles scuffing on unfinished barn wood,
His dark slim straight-fit suit, smile under bushy mustache.
His prairie home family inviting us for dinner.
Our skis and sleds swoosh in the dark.
Huddled together, down missing streets,
Guided by bouncing light
In the furious flurries of the seducing night.
Misty light and shadows behind fogging windows,
Steam escapes from the front door of the tiny bar.
We are friends by default,
Acceptance through necessity.
The guy from New York,
The pregnant Austrian couple,
The family from Oregon.
The smoking ski bums,
The drunken townies.
We drink and mix.
Smell the liquor.
Music becomes magic.
The medicated guy on new crutches
Flows onto the floor.
We dance with strangers,
We stumble into the open,
And hold each other up in the intimate cold.