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Ice Cream on Saturday

On hot summer Saturdays
I’d sit on a wobbly stool at
Juby’s glossy counter, swinging my legs
and eating pink ice cream
from a paper-thin cone.
Before the sugary melt
began to dribble down my chin,
Dad would push
his handkerchief into my hand
and a solitary nickel toward the young clerk.
I didn’t know then that we were poor
but now, so many years later, I wonder what
my dad bought with the Saturday nickel
when it wasn’t summer.

By Joan Newton