Ice-cream Men

by James Wijesinghe

The singing bees,
Allured by beds
Ablaze with kaleidoscopes
Of sweet peas, marigolds, foxgloves and sunflowers,
Bathe in the syrups
Until their furs are soaked and fat.
Then that lullaby,
The warble of the ice-cream man,
Pipes through melting streets.
His van charms flocks
Bleating for lollies, cones with flakes,
Rainbow sprinkles and doubles with sauce
Spilling to the road.
Stretching out of his stickered nest
A beam always lights his face.
In the summer’s heat,
His wave never halts.

But as winter freezes
The bouquets,
With a fondant of frost,
His van sits shut.
That time machine,
With its thawing song
Rings no jingle in the snow.
Does he migrate to red lands
Like the swallow?
Or feast on desserts
When the sun is veiled in black,
Where does the ice-cream man go?