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 by permission.
Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Maryland. She holds the distinction of being the 2014 Beltway Grand Slam Champion, and as of August, she is a National Poetry Slam Champion. She lives in Washington D.C. and has been published or has poems forthcoming in The Acentos Review, The Ostrich Review, Callaloo, Poet Lore and The Notre Dame Review.