Rob, my heart is a peeled clementine and I don't wince
anymore when you stick your thumb in the hollow middle,
pull apart. You don't even swallow these pieces
just set them underneath your bed (next to the safe box
Papi pried open because he was afraid you'd bought a gun.
It was actually a bundle of never posted letters to Obama
asking him for the money owed to you for having penned The Sixth Sense and A Beautiful Mind), and as this scent
of rotting citrus blossoms in the room we shared as children
--I can hear you murmur, your laugh echoing my scraping
at the wood of your door. Rob, I am splintered, drawn blood.
We both know how to slip medicine into milk, how to gift
each other with our backs. The hundred kinds of get out
someone can backhand against a name, take them all, palmed,
opened, don't be afraid that I'll ever try to walk through this door,
because the surface against my cheek is the only comfort you've shown
me in years. Rob, you always said clementines were too sweet.
Fold, shrivel, leave nothing behind but molded skin.
Added: Monday, July 14, 2014 / Used with permission.
Elizabeth Acevedoholds a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer's Workshop. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Notre Dame Review, Callaloo, Puerto Del Sol, Poet Lore, and Beltway Quarterly. Her chapbook, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths, was published by Yes Yes Books and her manuscript Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm was the winner of Tupelo Press’s Berkshire Prize 2016. She lives in Washington, D.C..