Ice Cream and the Rites of Womanhood – Carrie Danaher Hoyt

The day I turned 13
My mother took her mother and me
To the grocery store.

My Mom told me to choose an ice cream.

I don’t recall if it was after I’d chosen
(Already holding the frozen calories in my hands)
Or as I still stood in contemplation of the decadence,
That my grandmother came quietly next to me
And pinched my hip.

I looked up to see her
Eyebrows raised, lips pursed, she whispered,
“You don’t need it.”

Time stretched to match the distance of that grocery aisle.
I studied, for not a little while, the reflection of the fluorescents on the floor,
Bright blinding blurred above my burning cheeks.

I never said a word and don’t recall what I chose that day
Or whether I enjoyed the taste.
I’ve never since bought ice cream without some measure of this shame.

Today, when I’m feeling very brave, I’ll put ice cream in my cart— right on top—
On display, just daring someone to say: “You don’t need that!”
But other days, I cover it with romaine or a bag of seedless grapes.

Truth be told I do enjoy the taste of Ben N’ Jerry’s Peanut Butter World.
But truth be told, I generally pinch—rather than affectionately behold—
All the curves that since have made a woman of that girl.


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Carrie Danaher Hoyt is a life-long lover and writer of poetry. It is her humble opinion that poetry is the highest form of human communication. Poems (she says) at once highlight what is unique and what is universal in humanity. Carrie lives in Massachusetts where she is a wife, mother and lawyer. Carrie has poems at and forthcoming in 


Image: BriKa

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