STAR POems: Grapefruit

Late autumn in Lavender Hill and I perched in her kitchen,
a Frigidaire to my back. Florrie Mac rolled the fruit
with her back to the Belling. Pigeons flirted
on rooftops, and the distance between us
shrank from fifty-nine years to a square of formica.

When she felt the fruit yield she dug deep, nails
piercing its dimples, discarding its skin.
Exposing a pithy white petticoat fleece.
Down her thumbs delved, to its core, and then spread,
dividing her cache and transferring
a quarter from her hand to mine.

The incision. Her nails, oval-smooth and half-mooned
slicing through the first piece. The papery membrane
folding back to reveal its pale glossy lined flesh.
Her thumbs, underneath, easing out to the edges
’til a crescent of fruit is unloosed, and falls, whole.

On my way into London this summer
I passed Lavender Hill on the train.
In a breath I returned. Florrie’s
citrus-sweet tang
squeezing my throat
and pressing her memory
onto my tongue.

Jacqui Pack