Linus Pauling in Schnecksville

By Lara Dolphin

After a long day of toying with the quantum mechanics 
of chemical bonding, nothing hit the spot quite like 
fresh-made ice cream, so Linus put on his beret 
and set out for Crystal Spring dairy.

Past baseball fields and playgrounds
past the community college and the diner 
the elementary school, the fire hall, the post office, and the bank, 
past the bison grazing on game preserve lands

He did not call at the parsonage, though he knew 
the minister would be at home, nor at the Grange, 
the hardware store, or the IGA. He slowed as he passed 
the cemetery by the church but kept on going.

When he got to the farm, he ordered a cone, the perfect emulsion–
milk, cream and sugar overrun with air and whipped into a dense, cold foam 
that when consumed too quickly constricted then warmed the blood vessels, sending signals of pain along the trigeminal nerve.

As he stood by the fence looking at the wide open acres 
where wind would blow snow into wild, white dunes come winter,
he thought, “The best way to have a lot of ideas,” 
“was to give the mind plenty of space.”

Just then a Maltese cat jumped onto his shoulder 
snapping him out of his reverie. He was sure that vanilla 
was the best flavor but headed back inside to get a second cone 
this time a chocolate to account for subjective error.


Lara Dolphin is an attorney, nurse, wife and mom of four amazing kids; she is exhausted and elated most of the time.

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