Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Still Life

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Oh, luscious lemon--dishabille, your rind curling off,
your canary-yellow skin stippled with earthy browns, faint olives--
I stand, enraptured. How can a lemon, already peeled,
ripening into acidy green, be so radiant, so joyously bathed
in light, and the half-shadow crossing it, the color of brandy
and ripe leaves, nearly breaking my heart? I'm entering
this still life--the way she entered me--I can enter
because its perfection has been marred: The bread
is sliced into, there's a half-filled roemer, and even the pinked
and ultramarine asparagus is starting to turn. See, these things
are made more beautiful by use. I witnessed my body
falling in love with her, my pelvic bones stretching apart,
her lemon-sized body floating in my distended belly,
a black line arcing over what had been taut and tight. You
can imagine how this feels, some tears, some laughter,
watching your body this way: becoming weighted.
This Old Master has invited me into his still life; we're
becoming intimates in this delicious space. Like the lemon,
a flirty nude starting to unfurl into decay, I see my body
in the light for what it is: perishable and lovely, a temporary
place useful to her. In time, we'll separate bodies, this girl
and me. But for now, I'm happy with my two lemon loves:
one within and without, bathed in fragrant, alive lights.

Nicole Rollender’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, The Journal, Radar Poetry, Salt Hill Journal, THRUSH Poetry Journal, West Branch, and others. Her first full-length poetry collection, Louder Than Everything You Love, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications. She’s the author of the poetry chapbooks Absence of StarsArrangement of Desire and Bone of My Bone, a winner in Blood Pudding Press’s 2015 Chapbook Contest, forthcoming this year. She’s the recipient of poetry prizes from CALYX Journal, Ruminate Magazine and Princemere Journal.

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