From Issue 23: Popsicles

Yvonne Higgins Leach

POPSICLES AND A LIFETIME LATER

I.

The cabin porch stairs squeak
as they sit down on the peeling paint.

The summer sun is forgiving
in her gaze. A popsicle

in each of their hands—
the red and orange blare

in the light. The coolness
relieves their lips and tongues.

Their fifth summer. My lake friend
is how they describe each other in winter.

How last winter changed his voice,
and gave her body curves.

As is their ritual, they switch
Popsicles halfway down,

and when they do, they touch.
She cannot move her hot toes

from his calf. He feels them too—
small buds, perfectly placed.

II.

Because one of them will die,
they choose to wipe the crumbs
from the counter and not comment,
to bring in the patio cushions when
(continued)
(Leach, Popsicles and a Lifetime Later, page 2, new stanza)

the other one forgets, go to the movie
the other one picks, and at times,
push cruel words to the backs
of their throats.

In their dailiness, they hear the clock tick,
know eventually it will win,
know each sun-moon cycle
presses her heavy hands on their hearts.

Their bones might break,
their hearts might explode,
their minds mind forget
their deepest memories.

Whatever becomes the final moment
is just that—the final moment.
For now, the rose bush they planted last
spring grows more tender.

 

Yvonne Higgins Leach is the author of a  collection of poems called Another Autumn. Now a full-time poet, she splits her time between Vashon Island and Spokane, Washington. For more information, visit www.yvonnehigginsleach.com.

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