Droplets of Verse: ‘The Man Who Dropped his Ice Cream’

Driving home from somewhere
Can’t remember where now
I pulled into the street where I lived
From the busy main road
That’s when I saw him
Away in the distance
Wobbling along
With a blue plastic bag
In one hand
An enormous ice cream
In the other
I pulled onto my driveway
And parked up
Unlocked the front door and went inside
Then, for some reason, five minutes later
I went back outside
Maybe to take out the rubbish
Or to fetch part of my life
From the car, like my glasses
Or my Schubert Piano Works CD
That’s when I saw him again
In front of the old wooden garage
On the other side of the road
Lying face down on the floor
Not moving

I rushed over and asked,
‘Are you all right?’
‘I’m having a rest,’ he replied
‘Oh, okay,’ I countered
Perhaps a bit lamely
Wondering what to do next
‘Can you get me up?’ he said
‘Okay,’ I replied, ‘I’ll try’
He was a man of relatively
Small stature
So I was fairly confident
My muscle power
Would be enough
With my feet spread out wide
I bent forward
Grabbed him around the waist
And like an old JCB crane creaking
From years of lifting steel girders
Hauled him up from the pavement
Turning my head, I saw
The man from next door, Tony
Standing at the end of his driveway
Gazing over at us, looking curious
‘Stand up straight,’ I said
To the man, as he reached
Forward and down, to pick up four cans
Of beer, rolling away from him
They’d escaped from
His blue plastic bag, through
Dog-eared rips and ragged holes
‘Don’t worry about those,’ I said
As he lurched towards the ground
Worried he might topple once again
Tony came across with a new plastic bag
And picked up the cans
The man’s face, and the collar
Of his jacket, were plastered
With blobs of creamy foam, and streaks of red
‘Are you all right?’ said Tony, to the man
‘It’s okay,’ I said, ‘It’s only ice cream
And strawberry sauce’

Black sesame soft ice cream. in Kakunodate, Ak...
Black sesame soft ice cream. in Kakunodate, Akita, Japan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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