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James Valvis

MR. SOFTEE

Collecting fireflies in mason jars,
you heard the ice cream truck,
its jingle music like a song,
and the kids scattered, ran indoors
for money, and on good days your
parents gave you cash for:
a banana split for Dad, sundae for Mom,
enough left over to get yourself a cone,
little sugar sprinkles on your tongue–
while fireflies danced and blinked
and July seemed to last years
though it didn’t because nothing does–
and one by one, while you ate your cone
and flicked the jar with your finger,
making lightning bugs flash,
your parents, the neighborhood,
Mr. Softee and his vanilla turban,
blinked out like fireflies,
melted like a lick of ice cream,
something sweet and easily forgotten.

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James Valvis is the author of HOW TO SAY GOODBYE (Aortic Books, 2011). His writing can be found in many journals, including Anderbo, Arts & Letters, Baltimore Review, Barrow Street, Hanging Loose, Juked, LA Review, Nimrod, Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, River Styx, and Superstition Review. His poetry has been featured at Verse Daily and the Best American Poetry website. His fiction has twice been a Million Writers Notable Story. He lives near Seattle.