COMING HOME IN MICHIGAN WINTER
Marlin M jenkins
The gloves still caked in salt, the coat blood-stained and covered with dog fur. Both left to rot in the backyard. I’m getting away from these winters, he said. Away from the crack of dry knuckles, shovel’s strain on back, the slick sheet his car slid on. It’s been weeks since this particular sliding. He avoids the intersection now. Still, he has not left.
Still, he dreams he’d succeeded in stopping the car at the stop sign closest to his driveway. He dreams it’s sunny and the only ice is in his cup, that he doesn’t have an extra coat tucked into the corner in the trunk, doesn’t discover it when he looks for something to use as wrapping. In the dream, he’d listened to friends who said don’t leave your dog chained outside, especially in winter. The dog doesn’t break from the rusted chain tied to a pillar on the porch. Stays in the yard.
He doesn’t walk through the front door with the crushed body in his arms, through to the back door to drop off the coat, its contents, the gloves. He doesn’t need to forget them there. Doesn’t scrub his hands in the kitchen sink until he scrubs away the skin, exposes bone.