The Coldest I’ve Ever Been

by Mr. Sheehy

Too often I assign interesting writing prompts to my students, prompts I find intriguing and worth doing, but I do not write them myself. Today I did differently. I showed them this No Traces photo and asked them, What is the coldest you have ever been?


One Who’s Done Cold

I want to be a guy who has done cold,
Who lives in Jack London stories
But knows how to build a fire.
Sleeping in a snowbank, climbing with axes, burying mercury.

But I haven’t done that.

I did work in a warehouse with no heat,
wrapped in long underwear and Carhart’s best,
sliding boxes
inch by inch,
row by row,

just to make my blood cells flow.

By 2:00 I’d guzzle gas station hot chocolate.
By 3:30 I’d tap-dance a frozen sole tune.
By 4:00 I’d race Jim,
a fifty year old father of four,
down the aisles,

And we’d both lose.

By 5:30 I’d be done,
Ready to head home and read
The year’s best adventure stories

by a heating vent.


Photo credit: Stumped by NoTraces, released under an Attribution, Non-commercial Creative Commons license