Rosemary Royston 

Citrullus lanatus

Sinewy vines, yellow blossoms,
always the flower before the fruit.

Slab of nettle-like sweetness,
sticky juice washed or licked away.

Braids.  Bruised knees.  Splinter and pus,
rough surface, table half covered

in yesterday’s news. Large knives,
flies and yellow jackets.

Sliced, scooped, or carved.
A lake, vacation bible school,

family reunions. Soggy print, leftover
rinds.  Detritus of summer.


Citrus sinensis

Eyes red.  Focused on fingers
peeling not just the rind, 
but also the pulp.

Her nails are blades 
removing every white vein.
He slumps across the Formica,

hapless & mute, their words
having showered down 
like cruel stones.

She is done.  Plunges thumb 
into top & center,
quarters the fruit, slides

one-half across the table—
an orange offering,
its sweet sap seeping.


Houstonia caerulea


The Buddha in me
does not allow
my non-existent Self
to step on fragile bluets

who only appear fragile,
as they rise from shallow
gravel-laden soil, 
dainty blooms a child's grin.


I do not believe
there is no Self.

Ergo, I'm a failed Buddhist.
But I still love the bluets

and have cut and taped
them into a journal

their name written in blue:
Houstonia caerulea.


I believe in connection
only after learning
I have no control

of who stays, who goes—
something blue, something new
something else I've long forgotten. 


Rosemary Royston,  author of Splitting the Soil (Finishing Line Press, 2014), resides in northeast Georgia. Rosemary’s poetry has been published in journals such as Appalachian Heritage, Southern Poetry Review, NANO Fiction, The Comstock Review, Main Street Rag, Coal Hill Review, Flycatcher, Still: The Journal, Town Creek Review, and Alehouse


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