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February Second Two Thousand Twenty

By Beth Gordon From Issue No. 4

Skating this year across lakes newly frozen, chlorinated swimming pools
in southern California, the slippery roofs of strip malls, gathering icy sand
at the ocean’s edge. My mother says it’s a fluke, my cousins pack their
belongings and head south, with photos of dusty Oklahoma ancestors,
black and grey, a hunger in the lines around their eyes, survivors
of the journey west to harvest ripe oranges for wealthy men. My father zips
up his parka, covers his face and hands, snowshoes to work, a skill he learned
growing up with the pipelines of North Dakota and the smell of traveling
oil, practiced at the art of cold, of ignoring corpses beneath his feet.

About Beth Gordon More From Issue No. 4