Tanya Grae



The last pomegranate, a fat fist
honeycomb with bloody honey,

sits ovarian on the countertop—
a pregnant pause of the paring knife

on the edge of the breadboard
by the Pyrex bowl & spoon.

Amy shrugs from the stereo:
You know that I'm no good

And my children mill in & out
of the kitchen, peckish.


I used to bury my mouth
chin-deep in pulp & suck
every seed free. Sated,
I’d sleeve-wipe the juice
from my skin, sticky how
desire ends.


Another morning domestic
battle: the call in sick, a string

of naps & the bad marriage
marathon on Lifetime channel.

Fresh-out-of-the-garden Eve
turns ready to kick Adam's ass:

An extended hand is not a gun.
I didn’t make you eat


I fall asleep on the couch
& dream Morpheus drops in,
offering a choice of cosmo-tinis:

Apple to go out, pomegranate
deeper in. Either way, girl—
it's your sin.


Some seasons arrive late,
like epiphany, regret. Yes,

Persephone with those six seeds
screaming Mother

hair half-ripped out, narcissus
still tight in hand—why

& I can't get my damn self out
of bed?


One eye open, one eye closed, looking at the clock. Mom!
Something misplaced. The morning shuffle/scuttle/race/pace
to get out the door, a blink of calm & cue the tenor—Dammit!
Someone moved my keys! Retrace your steps to what you lost. Visualize
when you held it last. Walk back far enough & you'll find it,
unless it's gone.


Release, the de-seeding trick:
I score the skin’s circumference,
& work my fingertips in (gently)
pulling hemispheres apart,

& then hold each half face-down
& with a wood spoon, whack
the backside until red-purple
arils ring the bowl like hail.


Tanya Grae won the 2016 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Prize, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa. She is the author of the chapbook Little Wekiva River (Five Oaks Press, 2017), and her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, New Ohio Review, Fjords, New South, The Los Angeles Review, Barrow Street, Post Road, and elsewhere. She is a PhD candidate at Florida State University and lives in Tallahassee. Find out more at: tanyagrae.com