For the nights my grandmother pitted pock-
marked lychees in the kitchen and the mornings
she carved apple seeds across their meridian––
windows I watched her through in the quiet of
our Manhattan yard. The space between us bellied
grapes on my father’s trellis, a bottle’s worth of
claret. All the while berries coloring my tongue
like a language, a bloodline unfurled across an ocean.
In times of injury, she peeled me lemons until
my flesh grew thick into rinds. Boyhood in
the way she healed me to skin tangerines over the
countertop, fold their husks off the granite.
What did I know of how our love ripens in
these cycles, of a family pledged to this ethos––
sipping nectar as it skinnies down our arms,
refilling platters of peach by the daily. The
staccato of summer persists, my mother always
humming for street vendors and orchards.
Come August, heat haloes our hallways and
I rinse shellacked bowls over the sink, the faucet
running years of memories over my hands.
Some days, I lay an ellipsis of melons on our
dining table, the grammar of my body built on
clauses of purpose. As I undress an orange
each morning. As I dizzy the saucepan with citrus.
As The Pacific ripples toward the shore. It carries
the fruitful weight of a generation.
Patrick Tong is a senior from the northern suburbs of Chicago. A National JUST POETRY!!! winner, he has also been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom. His work appears or is forthcoming in Eunoia Review, 3Elements Review, and Rising Phoenix Review, among others. He currently serves as both an Executive Editor and Poetry Managing Editor for Polyphony Lit, a copy editor for its affiliated blog, Voices, a poetry reader for COUNTERCLOCK Journal, and the Outreach Director for the COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective.