Home-Place Ice Cream

Painted and peeling gray in the swamp
of August, the concrete porch framed
a gaggle of grandkids peering over

the wooden tub, waiting their turn
for a jaunty vault aboard the bucket top or

to spin the handle around, around… around
promises of banana ice cream quickening
pulses as small, cold hands slowed to

a cricket’s pace while Uncle Dub dumped
chunks of ice into the soaked crock over

rock salt layered about the frosty
metal can, treats in jeopardy of melting
between Papaw plunging the stiff crank

again, again… again pumping the rickety
machine as kids straddled the bar, bearing

down with both hands on towels trapping
cold in, sweat out; salt brine overpowers
every scent until Dub declares,

“It’s done,” swings the bar loose,
the braces falling aloof to tiny fingers

shivering while tingling tongues await
the thrill of Dad lifting that cold, cold
canister, a grail gilded in crystal.

Beth Cagle Burt, poet and photographer, co-edits Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets and moonShine review prose journal. She has served as teacher, journalist, and writing consultant with poetry and photography appearing in Slipstream, Tulane Review, Blue Collar Review, GSU Review, New York Quarterly, and others. Her award-winning chapbook, The Fearless Tattoo, is available at

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