Monday, April 19, 2010

What We Think We Need

The appliance store advertises a one-day special,
a soundless two door brushed steel refrigerator
with space to store casseroles , salads, desserts—
moveable glass shelves, climate controlled, humidity
set for tropical fruits bought in the winter—
a built in ice maker pounding
out cubes in five different sizes,
cracked ice, even crushed ice, iced water
and hot water for tea.

Did the street vender use a state-of-the art
ice shaver to make ice cones?
Antonio set up his stand and offered
ices in ten different flavors
and a kaleidoscope of colors.
My tongue turned blue or orange or red
every Friday afternoon.

My grandmother once owned a monitor refrigerator,
its motor on top like a bejeweled ornament.
My mother’s refrigerator roared,
iced up until the freezer compartment
shrunk to half the size.
She boiled pots of water
to place in the freezer
and hacked away
at one inch thick ice.

For a week after the defrosting
she reminded us to decide
what we wanted
before the door opened .
“Don’t,” she said, “go sightseeing.”

Linda Watskin

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