- Education Week
Before apps and weather channels made the future
boring, some mornings you would wake up and find
school cancelled. A snow day had arrived, unexpected,
unforeseen like God’s grace, but more understandable,
so maybe more like a twenty found on a sidewalk
with no one nearby and no guilt at spending it on junk.
Once I spent a snow day, building forts, sledding,
and skating until by the time I came home after dark,
I was freezing, and I was still cold when I went to bed.
After my father had finished his shift at the factory
and came in to say goodnight, he saw I was shivering
and he stayed, rubbing my legs until I was finally warm.
Years later, I realized how tired he must have been,
how his dinner would have grown cold and the ice
in his drink melted. I have forgotten entire years
of my school career, but not my snow day education,
about liberation and its dangers, about how pleasure
can lead you beyond what your body should endure,
about what it means to take care of someone who
barely gives you a thought, about how found money
was lost by someone who probably had plans for it.
A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills has published six collections of poetry, including “Exit, pursued by a bear” which consists of poems triggered by stage directions in Shakespeare. His book “This Miraculous Turning” was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family. Information about his work is available at www.josephrobertmills.com.