“The habit of eating unripe fruit may properly be added to the catalogue of weakeners of the memory.” –Elizabeth Bishop
Rinds ripped off in one continuous loop unfurl in boiling water. This woman I remember saved the meaty pulps for neighborhood children, throwing open gray shutters and announcing her gift to them in a voice like metal on metal.
She still believed in the evil eye. I remember she drank the skin-soaked water to dilute the dreams of being surrounded by snarling dogs.
Whole, unpeeled, these clementines pulse perhaps like phosphorescent sea creatures. On a cutting board, they seem asleep.
Other women, whose anonymous wrists hinge while sputtering a fan back and forth, recall orangewood-carved mirrors or tonics made from bark extract. Something of the old vanity must remain in them.
Isn’t that what we agree to, as women? To saturate churchyard tombstones with beauty as sharp and memorable as citrus in an open wound? A scar now on my thumb I remember.
The last time I saw the moon it looked like a plump bird the color of bone. To those kinds of things, I pay attention.
I am of above ground. The warm day and night pour over me. The world of air can be read: rain needling a windowpane
means you want sovereignty, yellow leaves in an updraft portend a ruin. I find myself full of wings one morning,
prepared to unlatch all locked drawers and doors. My footprints in ash wane until all that’s left is the fable of a thing loose
in the air. A three-syllable plea from the bough above.
-- Bianca Diaz’s chapbook, No One Says Kin Anymore, won the Robert Watson Poetry Award from Spring Garden Press in 2009. She has poems forthcoming in Sundog Lit and Ellipsis, and lives in North Carolina.