The Ice Cream
We help him ease his fleshless bones
onto the sun-warmed bench. He
leans back against the adobe wall. His eyes
in dark sockets roll down
toward the pigeons that wander and peck.
Tourists walk by unseen.
Ice cream? He nods
for chocolate. He grips and waveringly
lifts the cone. His pale
tongue jerks out, makes contact, retracts.
He tastes, first food
since Thursday. He licks.
No repulsion, no hint of
nausea. His tongue dents the cold mound,
carves out a swallow, then a long
swath through the middle -- his biggest
meal in weeks. His head goes a bit
sideways. Teeth bite. This
is not a feeding tube. He buries
his tongue in the brown coldness,
soaking his few taste buds. More
bites, a slurp, and his teeth crunch
the cone. Again, and crumbs scatter
to the pigeons. He sucks
creamy chocolate, bites
more cone, slurps and
bites and swallows until
it is all
If you've any comments on this poem, John Nimmo
would be pleased to hear from you.