by Alexis Wilson
Ripe, tender grapefruits nestledbetween sprightly leaves. Robbedof their youth from my neighbor’s tree,newly budding in spring. The girl I metfrom across the street on Begbie Drivewould teach me to peel the skin,our citrus-stained hands dismantlingits bruised body.How many days she taught meto catch lizards and hang them from our ears.To upcharge our roadside lemonade salesand sing to the kitchenette radio shamelessly.Early on, I learned to pick blackberriesgently from their bush and sneak out onto Piper’s boat docked in her driveway,watch twilight dance in our reflections.Somewhere in the backyard my first dogis buried with the tumor still caught against her head.Death has come in clusters. First her, then grandparents, then father—shadowed over me like the cool shadebehind my childhood home.If I were to return, I would pluck a single grapefruitfrom the neighbor’s tree—watch it ripen. Stash it in my pocket and never take a bite. Whisper to it again and again:Please don’t forget me.