Winterlude, what is it that I hear out there?
Amidst theworried sirens of your city ambulances and patrol cars,
As I take my dailytrek home through unshoveled sidewalks the dense shower of snow,
Through yoururban sprawl,
I can feel the snow crinkle beneath my tennis shoes, the onesfrom Mr. Salinger's Shoe
Next to the boarded windows ofthe closed LaConte's Groceries,
The husbands said it was too dangerous fortheir wives,
I say Winterlude's too dangerous,
I said it when my family waskilled in a terrorist attack,
I say it now as I refuse to leave the place thatrepresents the last link to my wife and boys,
Here in Winterlude,Michigan,
So I live with the desolate call of the gull by the pollutedlake,
Who looks for Summer each day next to the gin bottle-littered traintracks,
From the gangs of burly men who roam the streets on the east side oftown,
I never go to those streets, though sometimes I wonder if they are whereSummer roams,
Sometimes I wonder whether I should be looking for Spring beforeI search for Summer,
But I know better than to take the risk of looking for itthere myself,
I know Summer set here years ago,
Around the time the ThirdWorld War sent its hate to our town,
The old-timers still remember that thingsmay have been good before the war,
Before Summer set on Winterlude,
But thegovernment tells us through their newspapers and endless billboards thatthings
Were bad back then,
That they've gotten better since,
Buthomeless Mr. LaConte tells us different when not many people are around,
Wherewe can talk and laugh and play music that drowns out the gull's cries and thesirens,
Music that overpowers the man on the television who tells us how theworld is getting
Better with each long year,
Perhaps Winterlude's gettingbetter, too,
Perhaps it never will,
I'm not sure and there isn't anyonewalking beside me to ask whether it will.
Winterlude, you make melonely.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.