We drove through a blizzard,
all to see Mom's family.
White dust floated around us,
hitting the windshield like tiny,
soft pellets, but became tightly packed
when they hit the ground, the tires
grasping to find any traction
at 40 mph on the freeway—
the nine hours crept to twelve,
and our van crept right along with them.
We stopped for coffee, like every
road trip, but Dad couldn't finish his,
claiming it was too bitter for some reason.
Snowmobiles waited for us at
Uncle Larry's, but I couldn't drive one
at twelve; the massive contraptions
required strength and weight, both things
I didn't have at the time. My sister drove
while I sat behind, both of us in
coats and gloves and balaclavas,
teasing the cold by only showing our eyes.
She drove while I tilted left and right and
left, depending on which way we veered.
I went right when she drove the opposite,
and I shot into the air, only for a second,
then a belly flop on the ice told me
that no number of coats could provide
enough padding. I don't know why I
don't remember the bruising. Later,
I'd find it pained me to breathe, one of my ribs
jutting out, ever so slightly.
That night, Dad brought me to pick up Thai food,
and we waited in a booth under a fluorescent light.
He asked my opinion about his complexion,
and I agreed that the dull glow gave it a
yellowish tinge. My uncle said jaundiced skin
could be a symptom of something—
something to do with the liver, and it was
more than just the lights, even though I
wish it wasn't. Four months later and
my rib still juts out as evidence of that trip,
and we found that the florescent lights
didn't lie that night.