Valentines: “Valentine for stone fruit” by Cristina Lai

Valentine for stone fruit

in the morning I tell you that I’d dreamt of a grizzly bear swimming upstream after a long winter
here’s a list of things I did while waiting for the thaw:
tucked my liver into a salt crock
anointed myself with yolk
learned to skin a memory and string my left lung with its still warm guts
I don’t know if the bear made it. it’s almost peach season again
I spent all of last summer pressing my teeth to fuzzed skin
burying pockmarked pits like confessions in the peat of my soft stomach
I wonder if you felt them taking root, the first time you put your hands on me
not like I was precious but like you were trying to see if anything could grow here after all
it was fall then, fingers digging into soil, spade against my ribs
it’s not about the garden. it’s not about the flower, the fruit, the flesh, the juice
the earthworms gasp a love poem into the dark
I wake up before I reach the river bank

About Cristina Lai

Cristina Lai (she/hers) is a writer with degrees in engineering from Duke University. Her work has been published by Broken Sleep Books, and she can be found online at @cristinabridget.