the grapefruit

Tyler Econa

Woodbridge, VA

Woodbridge Senior High School

Poetry

my mother taught me how to peel grapefruits. 

sat at the dining table, a thumb nail slipped under membrane 

fingerprint dug into flesh, and out came the pulp, 

red, ripe, unafraid. 

and the slices were born from white cuticle bitter skin extracted 

perfect slick crescents. 

          my grapefruit-half breaks down into chunks— 

          I am ten years old, and I am hungry 

          and, unpeeled, I clench my stubborn jaw. 

          the slice bursts between my teeth 

          and I spit up bitter pulp. 

quietly, she spoons the perfect other-half into my mouth 

and, piece by piece, tells me 

I have to be patient. 

 

I peel a grapefruit on a morning where my fingers 

ache with longing. rip the membrane from its surface, 

expose the raw glistening. love, intact 

I am afraid of the mess. I want the crescent-moon slice, 

her thumbprint. manicured nail and honey voice 

          I spoon the soft pulp to my lips 

          and it tells me 

          I have to be patient. 

you learn to be methodical. work your way around the inedible bitter, 

cling to what’s left. a memory, 

or a taste. I am hungry still

EDITORIAL PRAISE

This one, I can taste. Piece is absolutely beautiful. There is a tenderness and nostalgia in the speaker’s voice, a sating—yes—but a hunger as well.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tyler Econa is a nonbinary writer whose work has been nationally recognized and featured by collaborations such as The Scholastic Art and Writing awards, the Kennedy Center, Susquehanna University’s Apprentice Writer and others. Econa is a member of the Class of 2019 at Woodbridge Senior High School in Woodbridge, Virginia.