poetry Emma Goldman’s Ice Cream Parlor
Emma Goldman’s Ice Cream Parlor
By Susan Gubernat
Ephemeral as ice cream, that store
in Worcester where she wore
a starched apron maybe and scooped
chocolate, vanilla for the duped
workers of Worcester, while
the rest of the radical world—idle,
yet eager, discontented, had no
idea of how to revolt.
And then she cashiered the spoon,
started humming the tune
of The Internationale. Plotted
the death of Frick, besotted
with his own wealth. Riots
would follow. When left and right
disowned her there were years
of exile, exile without tears
because of Russia, then Spain.
Revolution, again and again
while the only emperor seemed
the emperor of ice cream.
(And what of her legacy
in this, the next century?
Could it be now the rich will fall
and the rest of us will have it all
with a cherry on top?)
Susan Gubernat’s second full poetry collection, The Zoo at Night, won the Prairie Schooner book award and was published by the University of Nebraska Press. Her first book of poems, Flesh, won the Marianne Moore Prize and was published by Helicon Nine Editions. Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Michigan Quarterly, The Pinch, Prairie Schooner, and Pleiades, among others. She wrote the libretto for Adam Silverman’s three-act opera Korczak’s Orphans, which has been performed in a number of venues, including at the VOX: New American Composers series of the NY City Opera and by the Opera Company of Brooklyn. She is Professor Emerita of English at California State University, East Bay.