The day after the deep freeze, you break loose from the tyranny of tangled comforters and thermal pyjamas to plod across the frosty floorboards, fetching a bag of coffee grinds from a mythic kingdom of warm. There is barely a droplet of cream in the carton, and you curse yourself for putting it back into the fridge near drained, as if you could fool the future when it came to reckon. You mummify yourself in pink and yellow yarns, swaddling stripes over ears and forehead and hands, slide into waterproof feet and take the easy way down ten stories, baring your teeth slightly so no one talks to you in the elevator, if anyone is there. Outside, the brutal blast of ice hits you hard across the face, but someone else has already shovelled the sidewalk, parting the snow like Moses did the Red Sea so you can get through, so you can get that java while it’s still dark outside. Inside, the donut shop is a cheerful bustle of bleary eyed boys in hairnets acknowledging customer thanks with a rote “my pleasure.” The neighbourhood homeless have taken shelter in the cafe’s neon glow, sipping steeping tea, parked at the fireside tables alongside their bundles to dry. Outside, a huddle of men in fluorescent-X vests, frozen paws fumbling to sort tools, start saws, wrest away fallen branches blocking cars, to jimmy motors back to life, whisk away refuse, return the world to working order. No such leisure, or comfort, no fireside chats. There are icicles on the lashes of one so young that he’s still pretty. Their paper-vested coffees still untouched, and already turning to ice: no rest for the wicked.
Lorette C. Luzajic is a Toronto, Canada based visual artist and writer. Her collage paintings are collected around the world, and frequently appear in literary journals, too. Lorette is the editor of The Ekphrastic Review, a journal devoted to writing inspired by art. She is currently at work on her fifth collection of poetry.