IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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STEALING ICE, 1948

Roger Pfingston

That day on Florida Street we hid behind trees and bushes, watching as tongs locked like fangs on a twenty-pound block that the ice man swung dripping onto his shoulder. As he walked to the back door we ran to the truck, groped under wet canvas for a prize as slippery as fish, rushing to be where we could sit and gloat in our secret shade like times before, the evidence melting in our mouths, numbing fingertips as it streamed down hands and wrists, collecting in dark drops at our elbows. I was the first one out from behind the truck, the oncoming car a blur of fiendish grille that sent me flying up-ended over the hood, my share of ice like shattered glass in the morning sun, the silence, after brake squeal and thud, broken by my mother's screams as she came running, awkward, with my brother seven months in her womb. In the emergency room, having left my bloody thrashing smeared on the young soldier's back seat, they strapped me, shot me, told me I would live to tell about it though bruised and shaved with ten stitches in my scalp, between my eyes a bump "as big as a goose egg," my mother said, holding the ice-pack as the soldier drove us home.

 
 
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