To Celebrate My Father


If I could tell about the grapefruit, that would do.
How my father, slight and strong and knowing good,
would hold a solid yellow grapefruit in his hand and dig in.
He used his fingers.
He tore the rind, pulled the top away.
In no hurry, he peeled it all by slabs, played
the simple pleasure of parting
what was no from what was yes,
doing it with his bare, deciding hands.
He’d sing while shearing section from section,
bite through the seam of each one’s wrinkled veil.
Spitting out the pips and big gray seeds, he’d take
the bitter right along with every spurt of juice he swallowed,
his singing hardly slowing as he ate.

~ Naomi Myrvaagnes ~