The War Was Won with Ice Cream [poem] by Aimée Harris

He was off limits, an American soldier in France.
You tell me my grandfather tempted you
with a block of tea on a chilly winter day,
but what really thawed your heart was ice cream.

He’d visit your father’s photo shop
in the depths of the Paris Metro,
purchasing more film in his limited French
than any one person could ever shoot.

One day he brought in an ad for ice cream
served on base.  It had been a war
of Brussels sprouts and charred meats;
this must have seemed a mirage.

There you ate two sundaes,
one strawberry
and one pineapple
along with a chocolate milkshake

and later forced down
dinner at home
the dutiful daughter filled
with a secret hunger now.

One day you were walking through a park
covered in snow the color of vanilla ice cream.
A branch sent a chilly mass down on the two of you
as if a sign to hurry him on his way,

he asked you to marry him in English
and you answered in the same, a language
that would become your own
even though certain letters such as h’s still escape you.

And so I knew how to spot true love,
it is one beyond language
that melts in your heart
like the sweetest delicacy.



Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer:The poem refers to “Miracle Ice Cream” by Adrienne Rich.]

Image by joyosity via Flickr Creative Commons

Aimée Harris received her BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Montclair State University, her MFA in Creative Writing from  Emerson College in Boston and a master’s in library science from Rutgers University.  She is the Head Reference Librarian at the Hoboken Public Library where she runs monthly creative writing workshops.

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