From the Inside
I live in fruit, forced to sleep where the heart's sucked out, I'd prefer pumpkin entrails to this hollow-shanked shell. Peter, he guts pumpkins, swallows the cool, raw centers—the seeds and veins and blood orange sludge—leaving the shells intact like wanting bedroom walls. I replace seeds and pits and pulp with my soft curves and oval whorls— a disguise of something as sweet as fruit meat spread across his lips when he whispers, "You're juicy enough to eat, my sweet." Last month, Peter obsessed with ripe, black cherries; he popped the pits with his tongue, scraped the purple-stained flesh with a pocket knife blade then drove me into each vacancy- cherry by cherry by cherry biding to be eaten. This time, next time, the time after next- he will eat the center of a brown-hipped pear like a worm and lodge me inside, or carve a tomato without breaking the soft, soft skin and place me in. He will watch me watch from the inside out. Rinds, skin, hulls, husks, peels, orb-shaped homes hold me in like Mason jars, and when my pumpkin shell grows crows feet and pruned peaks, stretch-mark lines and wrinkled seams, Peter panics, plucks a melon from the vine, where he keeps me very fine.
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Courtney Putnam earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Phoebe: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Feminist Scholarship, 4th Street, Moon Journal, and in the anthology Inhabiting the Body from Moon Journal Press. She is a visual artist, poet, and Reiki practitioner living in Seattle.