“Strawberry Ice Cream” and Other Poems, by Ralph Earle

Strawberry Ice Cream 

After we swam my mother 
let us get ice cream. 

Yellow-green maple seeds 
drifted in the sunbeams. 

Barefoot we walked to the window 
across hot concrete.  

It was only later I hated her  
endless prep-school letters. 

I liked strawberry, how cold 
the pulp felt in my teeth. 

Recipe for a Heavy Heart

Pull three scallions from the rich dark soil. 
Clean them. Slice them. Scatter them 
in the pot where your heart is cooking. 
Add a cup of snow from your childhood,
algae from the pond, the communion
wine you didn’t swallow. Chop that honeymoon
photo of your father, the one you forgot about, 
mix it with lawn clippings, fold in 
the soft remains of apples gnawed by wasps. 
Offer it to the heat. How different 
the ingredients taste as they blend. 

Simmer to the point of tenderness,
hours, days, whatever it takes.
This is the feast you have waited for: 
nothing overlooked, nothing overdone.

A Man Like You Deserves French Fries

Behind a counter where flaw-
less cabinets flick out straws,
three machine
tenders in green
and white await my word.  I call
to one, a young girl near a tall

device like an injection mold,
offer the spoils of my pocket
for something thick and cold
she can dump 
in a cup 
with chocolate.

Her smile slides its fingers up my thighs.
She says A man like you deserves French fries.

After a lifetime of literary endeavor as writer, reader, teacher, critic, bookseller, editor, and appreciative listener, Ralph Earle now creates websites for poets, bodywork practitioners, and like-minded people. Recent poems have appeared in Red Fez, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Sufi Journal. His collection The Way the Rain Works won the 2015 Sable Books Chapbook Award. During the pandemic he has been taking long walks and teaching people to use Zoom.

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