A Winter Heat
by Cullen Whisenhunt

The starting line was a finger
of hay meadow hill that reached
out and over the intersection of
a creek and its tributary. The heat
would pit an overturned grill top
(with no handle, of course) against
an oil drip pan stolen from the local
auto parts house. At the call of “get set,”
both teams took a head start, sprinting
into an almighty shove that sent two
boys careening off over the thin layer
of snowfall. The drip pan, slowed by
the already long blades of hay,
came to rest the usual 40 feet from
the point of release. The grill top, however,
shot on, furrowing through grass
and gritty snow with all the added
momentum a 165 pound 13-year-old
boy can provide. For him, the finish
line was a row of bois d’ arc and
red cedar where he flung in, screaming,
beside a round bale that had rolled-down-
its-own-we-swear, and eventually
came up to a chorus of scratches and laughter.

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