Fruits of his Labor


I rot as I ripen.

A brown apple on the ground

that used to swell with juice in every crevice. 

I will be wrinkled and dry,

and who will love me then?


He slips a lock of my hair 

between his first two fingers,

admires its shine,

falls for its softness.

He marvels at the way it falls over

shoulders and sheets

and the sides of my cheeks.


He traces constellations 

in between the freckles on my arms.

He says he can see our future in the patterns,

that my speckled egg shell coating

is so beautiful he hopes

I never crack open.


I hold palms full of honey,

rub it into my hair and my skin

and in between the creases of my fingers.

And as he watches it drip,

he mourns the loss of something

that has touched my skin.


He grieves over the taste,

lays flowers on the shallow grave of my youth.

In fits of rage he tries to dig up every ounce

that squeezed itself out of me.

But the fruits of his labor

are no more than rotten apples.


I have been beautiful since birth,

a glass never empty,

always enough to satiate.

Peach juice drips down my skin

getting caught in every crevice.

But as I age my luster fades,

I am a shell of what I used to be.


Begging for his forgiveness gets old,

permanently sticky hands 

Can’t bring back my naivety.

There is no more fruit pulp

crushed between his fingers

from fumbling for one taste of the nectar

that seemed to melt off of my skin.


Now he wipes his sticky palms on his pant pockets,

uses my hair as his napkin, 

when he used to devour any semblance of sugar I shed.

A woman’s beauty is her only form of art,

and as it dripped away,

he slunk after it. 


It is no matter that it came from me,

or that I learned to make something better. 

Fruit will always rot,

and women will always be forgotten.