The Day the Ice Cream Fell
by Sally Zakariya

It was the long summer I was eight—all
summers were long then, hot and full
of possibilities, but nothing happened
there in that tranquil bay-side guesthouse—
no one to adventure with except my big sister
and she suddenly, mysteriously grown up beyond me
nothing to divert me but nettlesome jellyfish
and the taunts and tantrums of a skinny kid
whose mother would sigh languidly Don’t
do that Hugh and Hugh would keep
on doing that or worse

Stung and out of sorts, I leapt at the chance
to go to the nearby town for ice cream
butter brickle, please, two scoops, sugar cone
I hopped on the hot pavement barefoot
balancing the swiftly softening treat
but one foot landed on the smoldering
butt of a Lucky Strike and I jerked away.

So small a loss but still I grieved a bit
that night, not just for ice cream spilled
or jellyfish or wretched, worrisome Hugh
but for another summer passing and me
too young and too alone

S. Zakariya

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sally Zakariya’s poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals and won prizes from Poetry Virginia and the Virginia Writers Club. She is author of Insectomania (2013) and Arithmetic and other verses (2011) and editor of Joys of the Table: An Anthology of Culinary Verse. Zakariya blogs at