Jill Wellington grapefruit-3133485_1920
Just Grapefruit
by Penny Harter

Carefully, I place half a grapefruit
into the small white bowl that fits
it perfectly, use the brown-handled
serrated knife to cut around the rim,
separate the sections.

The first bite is neither sweet nor bitter,
but I drag a drop or two of honey around
the top, love how it glazes each pink piece,
then seeps between dividing membranes.

Pale seeds pop up from their snug burial
in the center hole, and when I’m finished,
I squeeze sticky juice from the spent rind
and drink it down.

Each grapefruit is an offering, its bright
flesh startling my fasting tongue. When
bitterness spills from the morning news,
I temper it with grapefruit, savor hidden
gifts as I slice it open, free each glistening
segment, and enter honeyed grapefruit time.

Previously published on Facebook and Blog. Forthcoming in Still-Water Days, Kelsay Books / Aldrich Press, summer 2021.

Photo by Jill Wellington, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Just Grapefruit” is one of the many poems I began writing last March when the pandemic began, posting them the same or next day on both Facebook and my Blog. I continued this spiritual poem practice hoping to offer oases of calm and hope midst all the Covid (and political) chaos on television and social media. One of the ways to find peace is to pay attention, focus, on the moment. For me, this particular day’s moment was preparing and eating a grapefruit.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Penny Harter’s work has appeared in Persimmon Tree, Rattle, Tiferet, American Life in Poetry, and many other print and online publications. Her more recent collections include Still-Water Days (2021, forthcoming from Kelsay Books), A Prayer the Body Makes (Kelsay Books, 2020), The Resonance Around Us (2013), One Bowl ( 2012), and Recycling Starlight (2010). A featured reader at the 1985 and 2010 Dodge Poetry Festivals, she has won three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Mary Carolyn Davies Award from the PSA, and two residencies from VCCA. For more information about Harter and her work, please visit pennyharterpoet.com.