Summer 1982 • Vol. IV No. 3 Contemporary American Poetry |

Grape Sherbet

The day? Memorial. After the grill Dad appears with his masterpiece—swirled snow, gelled light. We cheer. The recipe's a secret and he fights a smile, his cap turned up so the bib resembles a duck. That morning we galloped through the grassed-over mounds and named each stone for a lost milk tooth. Each dollop of sherbet, later, is a miracle, like salt on a melon that makes it sweeter. Everyone agrees—it's wonderful! It's just how we imagined lavender would taste. The diabetic grandmother stares from the porch, a torch of pure refusal. We thought no one was lying there under our feet, we thought it was a joke. I've been trying to remember the taste, but it doesn't exist. Now I see why you bothered, father.

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Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove has published numerous books, most recently Sonata Mulattica and Collected Poems 1974-2004; she also edited The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Among her many awards are the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal. She is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

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By Rita Dove

The day? Memorial. After the grill Dad appears with his masterpiece—swirled snow, gelled light. We cheer. The recipe's a secret and he fights a smile, his cap turned up so […]

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