Kimberly Dawn Stuart

In My Grandmother’s Hospital Room

The winter her citrus trees finally
fruited, we were not allowed to turn
them into juice. We could not consume
them properly that way. We had to taste
it all—the pith, the oils. I bit
the rind because she told me to.

She has always believed with suffering
comes peace, and the bitter skin
was just that for her: a cleansing.

It was the first time I ever noticed
the pores of an orange, how they feel
like worry on your tongue.

Kimberly Dawn Stuart‘s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + MothLouisiana Literature, 8 Poems, Barren Magazine, and Deep South Magazine, among others. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, the writer Marley Stuart, where they direct the small press River Glass Books.