picking grapefruits from a tree not yours


The tree has always been on the street. At least,
as long as you have lived on the street,
coexisted. It has been a good tree, but
it is not yours, neighbors. Sometimes as you walk
the dog your eyes linger, stare, watch green leaves
sway in breeze, accentuate soft pink bulbs of fruit.

At night, fantasize about stealing one.
Dress in all black, avoid soft glow of streetlamp,
approach trunk with hesitation. Reach into the green,
feel around the smoothness, oblong, oval, slender
midrib of leaf, hundreds of leaves. Until fingers
press against, curl around, exocarp, grasp firmly,
tear the fruit from its stem. Slip it into the oversize
pocket of a hoodie, plenty of room, maybe, take two.

Step gently along the sidewalk, both hands
inside pocket, caressing rind of sweet pink, textured
from growth in the sun. Curve onto driveway,
turn key into lock, gently press open front door.
Inside, among the dark, reveal pleasure to the night.

Rip at the rind, dig nails into flesh, until only pulpy
carpels are left, segment walls holding roundness
together. Perfume of oil, released in the tearing,
linger in the air. Separate segments, gently between
fingers, eat slowly. Press carpels against roof of
mouth with tongue, till bursting.

Next day, walk past the tree, slowly,
admire the leaves, blushing pink slipping
between the green. Think of the taste, sticky,
near sweet, flesh against tongue. Wait
until dark again, take another, consume.


Katy Sperry

Katy Sperry is an MFA student at Northern Arizona University, where she studies hybrid and flash writing. She is the current nonfiction and hybrids editor of Thin Air Magazine. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Essay Daily and Ghost City Review. Sometimes she writes about citrus. Twitter: @katysperryflg