My boast is empty –

I haven’t been eating ice cream

since the age of one.

That fateful first lick,

whenever it was,

loses importance when flattened out

to one point in time.

 

* * *

 

That first year

is as probable as any other –

my mother smearing a dab

of french vanilla on my lips,

the buttery sweetness stifling

the tears

surprised out of hiding

by the sudden cold.

 

 

Just as sensible as an afternoon

at the waterfront park

six years later, July Fourth,

scared of the boom cracking fireworks

and their blazing detritus

drifting down

to the dry, sea-bleached wood homes

all around us,

Dad handing me a Toasted Almond,

opening the wrapper,

and watching my amazement

at the unexpected soggy crunch of joy.

 

 

Certainly no different

from an evening driving home from school

until the Dairy Queen on our left

and oh that blessed left turn signal

click clacking

while my sisters speak the mysteries

of dips and sprinkles

and all I can do is wait

while they order for me

and then those spirals of airy whiteness

dripping on my shoes.

 

* * *

 

In the onrushing blur of memory,

all I have

is an unending well

that exists somewhere

beyond desire,

for any evening

I may pass that brightly lit shop

full of plastic spoons

and kids in baseball caps

stamping stickiness on the gray tiles

in a mad scooping frenzy

and I answer simply:

the ever-confident satisfaction

that the day’s tasks have ended

and now there are only

bright,

tender,

frozen

strawberries

with a fair hint of mint,

and a crunch

of chocolate

to pry from my teeth

forever

into the starry, dumbfounded walk home.