"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Frigg | Fall/Winter 2023/24 | Snow Job | Paula Reed Nancarrow
artwork for Paula Reed Nancarrow's poem Snow Job

Snow Job
Paula Reed Nancarrow

The snow was late again this year, the soil frozen brick, waiting for its soft blanket. That young meteorologist from the city corrected us. It is never too cold to snow. Just too dry. Well, that fit, too. We knew what must be done. As usual, we let Death think it was his idea. Come dusk, we left him a good bottle of port on the stoop in front of the Dead Letter Office with Thanks for the memories in a florid, spidery script. It might have been from anyone dead. As usual, he took the bait. Found the key under the mat, took the stairs down into the vault, sat in the leather recliner, surrounded by papers and dust. Poured himself a drink. His bone finger traced the name on each envelope. He tore up bills, threw them up into the air like confetti, had another drink. Read love letters, divorce papers, the occasional returned manuscript. Cried, and drank, and cried some more. We knew what he wanted, but it wasn’t in our power to give. What we could do we did. By the time those dry bones were thoroughly soused, our roads and fields were covered in white. Then we would carry Death gently, passed out on the sleigh, to the town cemetery, to the casket reserved just for him. As usual, when the sun came up he was gone, and the casket went back to the vault. We knew he would show up again. We were no longer sure of the snow.

Paula Reed Nancarrow’s Comments

The original inspiration for “Snow Job” was our increasingly unpredictable weather. Climate change needs to be addressed at a collective level, and yet we cannot even reach consensus on the fact that it exists. Perhaps that is why I began to feel Shirley Jackson on my shoulder, urging a village ritual. Oddly enough, when Death entered the picture, the ritual became more humane.

Table of Contents

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 62 | Fall/Winter 2023/24