Spring 2024

I couldn’t help myself

By Cecil Morris

The hostess brings out ice cream the color of sunset
and no one refuses a serving all of us obedient tongues

quiet now stilled the joy melting softly in us
undressing our fears dispersing our hesitations

When I look again I see her leaning back to him
her head tilting familiar and I imagine his smells

the gun oil and lanolin the hard blue soap he uses
and give it all to her the good and bad the way

his bristling freshly trimmed beard can draw blood abrade
tenderest skin the way his fingers catch in hair

his fist—all hers—the ice cream cold and sweet—as sweet
and cold as his apologies—a dream of satisfaction

The spoon inverted my tongue pushing into its cup
the stretch for every bit of flavor that last smear

of bright fresh fruit crushed and creamed and sugared
turned into something new something frozen

that submission to the senses to the appetite
the eager giving over of body to pleasure

and the fading colors of sunset on the flesh

Recently retired from teaching in Roseville, California, Cecil Morris uses his spare time to write and read poetry. He  enjoys the work of Sharon Olds, Billy Collins, Tony Hoagland, Megan Peak, and Morgan Parker. He also enjoys ice cream too much and cruciferous vegetables too little. He has been published in The Ekphrastic Review, Gravel, The Hiram Review, Poem, The American Scholar, Dime Show Review, and other literary magazines.Add a website here if you have one.

Spring 2024