The Two-Scoop High-Dive Foot-First Feat

This poem is dedicated to every kid who ever found the courage to take a leap 

and anyone who ever helped it happen 

The Two-Scoop High-Dive Foot-First Feat

from the high dive

of the Sea Island Beach Club

the cool blue pool

was the earth from space

we tiptoed to the end

    shivered,

      chickened-out

crept back again

careful to stay 

in the middle

down the ladder 

we lowered 

our trembling limbs

to recover

slunk across

to the ice cream stand 

averting our cowardly eyes

from the lowered shades 

of the sunbathers

mocking our courage 

but then-

then

then the tall black ice cream man

in his white paper hat

and white stringed apron

who in the mid-1970s 

could spot defeat

of every kind

took one look

and knew

just what to do

he perked up:

tilted his gaze

eyebrows raised

mouth ablaze

with a smile

flashed his big white teeth 

with a gold crown

and asked

“Two Scoops??”

of course 

he already knew

the answer


but we shyly smiled 

and nodded, whispered

“yes sir, chocolate, please”

and he bent into 

the freezer

with his metal scoop

rolled up two spheres 

of a world we 

could

dive into 

devouring it

one lick at a time

as we sat

on the vinyl-strapped 

pool chairs

in the cool shade 

to stay

ahead of the

melting drips

trickling down the cone

to the last soggy-crisp

bite of the cream-laden

cake bottom 

then

sticky-fingered

off we ran

whistle-warned 

by the lifeguard 


“Walk!”

he scolded

and the shades lowered 

again

denting our courage 

again

Mom’s head raised

from her sunbathing

at the whistle


somehow knowing


her shades, too, lowered 

eyes adjusting

peering out

spotting our 

chocolate-rimmed mouths


garnering us 

30 minutes of no swimming

for our stomachs to settle

so we dipped our feet

in the baby pool 

for forever

and waited

and waited

and waited 

until finally

her yellow and white 

gingham sunhat shifted

and she released us

and with the sure-footed steps 

of an Olympian 

we marched boldly

back to that ladder

climbed with confidence 

and strode to the end 

of that board

peeked over the edge

shuddered again

from outer space 

at the tiny speck of world below 

crept back 

to the ladder

 d

   o

     w

       n

and 

stopped

closed our eyes

turned around

took a deep breath

clenched our fists 

stepped forward

one step at a time 

then 

fueled by a double dose of empowerment

opened our eyes

looked straight ahead

and sprinted off the edge

performing the greatest 

Two-Scoop High-Dive Foot-First Feat 

ever

in the history of the world 

and we knew it 

because 

from

behind the ice cream stand


we saw 

two 

black thumbs up 

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