Our father's car kicked warm gravel
on Sundays in the ice cream parlor parking lot
near your mother's house, where we would stop
before dropping you off for the week,
where I would start by eating half spoonfuls,
then quarter, and then alternate spoons
of ice cream with spoons of air,
until the lights flickered and died, one by one,
and the smiling blond behind the counter
ruffled my hair, and I left the ice cream
to melt in a garbage can.
Your hair was long enough that you threw it
over a shoulder before sitting down, leaving
the smell of strawberry shampoo in your wake.
I listened to the hidden rollout bed
cough up that smell all week.
Our father taught me to use a calendar,
and I colored the squares for Saturday
and Sunday blue, your favorite.
Then, blue weekends went by
where the rollout bed stayed hidden,
my bed an island, the smell of shampoo everywhere
until it settled and faded into nothing at all,
and the taste of ice cream didn't make
me miss you, and letter by letter,
I forgot the name of the street you lived on.
Jane McConnon comes from a place that's unsure if it's a beach town or a
backwoods town. She has a hard time standing still. She is pursuing her MFA in
poetry at NYU.