A Fictional Memory About Ice Cream
A very old man said:
When I was a child, once,
an ice cream truck hit the fire hydrant in
my neighborhood. The kids spilled out of the
houses like fire ants, the water sprayed thirty feet
In the air. You could see rainbows suspended in
the sky and there was no reason then to think
it wasn’t magic. The parents ran after them,
calling them back, pleading, thinking of wet clothes and
nuisance and other pointless things, but
the kids did not listen. The driver, for reasons his and
his alone, began giving all the inventory away,
shoving fudge bars
and push pops
and snow cones
by the dozen into the trembling small hands who
could not believe such abundance, who sat
on the curb glutting themselves
on every sweet solid thing before it
melted, who wailed and threw rocks at the firemen
when they came to shut
the water off.
did you know that many of the ornamental features of our favorite plants–
variegated leaves, vibrant colors, a pleasant and
dramatic curl–are the result of viral
in 17th century Holland, tulip growers deliberately infected healthy
flowers with the virus that would transform them into
the “Rembrandt tulips” so prized by the Dutch masters for their
contrast, their feverish pigment. as time
went on, they were genetically modified to emulate the symptoms
without the sickness.
in Victorian Europe, as tuberculosis
ravaged a generation of childless poets in their prime,
women began playing to the ideal of the
delicate, ethereal, consumptive with
emaciated corset waists, citrus juice in the eyes,
arsenic wafers nibbled from coat pockets.
this isn’t a poem about making the best of bad things
it’s a poem
about living with complexity,
making it your strange and intricate bedfellow
and if necessary, your bitch.
even if it kills you.
(especially if it kills you)
What I know this Easter
1. My dad texted me a picture of my mom sitting on the living room floor, surrounded by
candy and Clorox wipes. He said it took her two hours from start to finish.
2. My husband says three days dead to save the world is a pretty sweet deal, and none too
impressive. He says: who wouldn’t do that? And I’d like to agree, but every time I go
outside, I see people who won’t even cover their mouth to cough. Not really sure I can see
them giving up their weekend.
3. I am angry that my kids are disappointed that we don’t have the plastic eggs. I am angry
at this holiday that I don’t know how to hold anymore.
4. Human sacrifice evolved independently on every continent, and I think it’s a kind of death
denial—a sacrifice is not a tragedy. A sacrifice heals the land.
5. We are forever shadow boxing with our own spectres.
6. The blood is a Rorschach test.
7. The blood laughs at our altars, and flows on.
8. When my mom delivered those Easter baskets to my children, two hours sanitized, she
gave us the love of calculated risk. It’s the only kind of love I understand.
9. Every grave becomes a garden eventually.