Barbara Daniels
The Ice Box

The grocery store sample man offers
pale slices of orange-melon—some new
genetic mix. I try the grape-apple,

flavor of grape, apple texture. I didn't
grow up with that, Grandma used
to say, a sniffed dismissal. I grew up

with lugs of cherries that filled whole
shelves in the ice box, refrigerator really,
but we said ice box to honor the years

of blocks of ice bundled in straw, heavy
tongs, leaking drip trays. Grandma lost
trees to hail five years in a row, emptying

her square of prairie. South Dakota hurled
down hailstones Mom gathered to make
ice cream. Real cream, that's what

she grew up with. Pheasants cooked
in sour cream. An orange at Christmas.
A long, flat horizon, driving snow.

May I offer you cherries? A slice
of real melon, rich sweetness
you first tasted a lifetime ago?