I am rough on the rind of the cantaloupe—smell for impurities, knock at its head using all of my knuckles (how hollow?), search for the seat where it fixed itself to the soil to grow and become sweet. In this way, through these thumps and inspections, I can still feel my mother’s hangover, her body vined around blankets, angled over her bed clinging to the savior of a pillow as if it were part of her. I think that she birthed my sisters and me as proof she could create something beautiful, and I pretend her bruising words were only the self-deprecating ways an artist pretends not to be prideful. Years later she tries to win me back with fruit. An orange on my kitchen counter pretending to be the halo of Madonna, as if to say, “look I will finally feed you,” but she trained it to say, “remember all of the times I fed you.” I wonder if she knew I learned to eat oranges like she did, how my nails would puncture the flesh, rip the skin from the small, raw center, pull it apart, and examine each piece for favoritism. I tear open the seams and tongue around until I find each seed, spit them out on a dirty surface, and eat what’s left. Now when I lie in one place, I do not become fixed, but instead let sweat drip sweet down into the ripped orange peel beneath.
Caitlin Creson graduated from Augusta University with a B.A. in English and spent time in the Poetry MFA program at Georgia State University, where she acted as production editor for New South Journal and was a poetry chair for the New Voices conference. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Santa Ana Review, Waccamaw, Sand Hills Literary Journal, The Adirondack Review, and more. She has presented on poetry, theory, and trauma informed pedagogy all over the country. She currently calls Atlanta her home and doesn’t plan on changing that any time soon.