All in by Meg Yardley

by Meg Yardley

1. You need a sharp-pointed spoon.

You hunt through the bins at Goodwill,

settling spoons into each others’ hollows,

counting out sets of rose-trellised forks

you don’t need, training your eye

to seek out something serrated.

2. You hollow the pulp out of each section.

You leave the membranes intact.

3. You didn’t set out to eat a grapefruit;

they just started arriving on your doorstep weekly.

Your partner makes a face when you offer

the coral-colored juice: it needs sugar.

You delight perversely in that wince, a reminder

of how much sour you can stand.

4. There will be splatter.

You’d better move your daughter’s homework

off the table. The 400-page biography

will go back to the library with its pages speckled,

crisp white paper damp and relaxed.

5. Eating a grapefruit absorbs

attention. You can try to do the crossword

or write a poem about eating a grapefruit

while eating a grapefruit

but soon you find you haven’t filled in a letter

in five minutes, you’re luxuriating in bitter

liquor, this one thing.

6. Yesterday you set some nectarines on the conveyer belt—

the cashier passed them over her scanner, paused

to inhale with half-closed eyes—

but they seem to be gone so quickly.

Only the grapefruit—its untidy treatment,

its yielding flesh,

its bright and biting flavor—

only the grapefruit lingers.


Meg Yardley lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is a school-based social worker. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hanging Loose, Rattle, the East Bay Review (Pushcart nominated), AMP, Non-Binary Review, Leveler, Right Hand Pointing, and the Peauxdunque Review. She has a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and a master’s degree in Social Work.