One night each week during those long summers
when open windows were the first respite from the day’s heat
and evenings urged the neighbors to their front porches,
my mother handed us the flower-edged dish, just wide enough
to nestle five assorted dips, chipped just enough to ease
her surrender of it to my sister and me. We skipped the three blocks
to Betty’s, the sight of her lighted Breyer’s sign growing
against the falling twilight, quickening our step.
Her jolly brothers, balding and chubby, ran the shop at night,
winked at us, index fingers to their lips as they dug deep,
brought up grapefruit-sized servings of chocolate, lime ice,
vanilla fudge, peach, skirted with clumps clinging
in the lift from the tub; tucked them around expertly
with waxed paper. Reached, without apology, their gloveless,
sticky hands to a big tin of loose pretzels—a gift of makeshift
spoons for catching stray drips of a fading season.
Bernadette McBride, author of four poetry collections, most recently, Everything Counts (Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books 2019), is poetry editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Pennsylvania county Poet Laureate, and recipient of several awards for her work, she taught creative writing at Temple University for many years and has reviewed books for Terrapin Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous U.S. journals and anthologies, as well as in the UK, Canada, and on PRI’s The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. She welcomes your visit at bernadettemcbridepoetry.com.