Eva M. Schlesinger [notesfromthecupcakerescueleague.wordpress.com] is the author of the chapbooks Remembering the Walker and Wheelchair: poems of grief and healing (Finishing Line Press 2008), View From My Banilla Vanilla Villa (dancing girl press 2010), and Ode 2 Codes & Codfish (dancing girl press 2013). She has received the Literal Latte Food Verse Award as well as been a finalist for Writer’s Digest’s Red Heart: Black Heart Contest and the 2014 Mary Ballard Chapbook Prize. Her poetry credits also include California Quarterly, Cricket, and Levure Littéraire. Eva’s young adult novel, Everyone Knows About Aleph, seeks a nice home with a publisher.
À la mode
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
The last time I heard that chant I was traveling on a sugar wafer cone.
Me, an ordinary scoop of vanilla. I liked riding up high to see the sights.
Without warning, a man’s elbow knocked me off my perch, and I flew into the charcoal beneath some toasted marshmallows. Sizzling heat skewered my senses. I could not breathe or think cool thoughts.
Rapidly melting over coals so hot they singed my creamy sides, I yelled for help. I screamed, “Ice cream, ice cream, 9-1-1!” An off-duty blackberry pie slice ran fast, risking bursting berries to save my life. Balanced me on its crust à la mode. Hightailed us out of the BBQ pit while sirens wailed.
Scoopers slid me into the icy unit. Orange Sherbet and Hazelnut Gelato were so cold to me; Cherry Italian Ice and Coconut Shave Ice showered me with frosty shards. Even Tofutti and Rice Dream, ordinarily my rivals in the street jingle jangles, hovered nearby.
So much air had whooshed out of me I almost passed as gelato. On fire, I could masquerade as flambé. I was too weak from atrophied ingredients to be either, so Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt propped me on a wooden stick. I lay lengthwise on my back without the strength to turn over or curl into a ball.
My mind, body, and spirit dissolved, so the scoopers recommended rehab to make me whole and round again. I had to start from scratch. I trained in the ice cream float and the root beer float. Scoopers wanted me to try the à la mode remedy, but I panicked, remembering scorching heat, 9-1-1 rescue. Instead I lounged in a glass dish, enviously eyeing the lemon and lime sorbets tango with the mango, until I revived. Then, determined, I performed drills in parfait, sundae, or I exercised with spumoni. Convinced everyone I was not destined to become the next ice cream cake or Baked Alaska.
Day by day, the scoopers attempted to lift me with metal spoons. Each week I solidified more–more whole and less fragmented on the outside, still melted inside.
Finally I was ready to move on to the spa: freezer retreat. I looked pretty much like my neighbors in the store carton, except for my conspicuous scars patterned like a waffle cone.
I missed my life before my identity melted that midsummer day before pie rescued me. Special on pie, just like it says on the café menu. Pie’s special to me. Pie, my protector, the dessert that refused to desert me.