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Congratulations to 2021 Ottaway Award winner Naveen Kishore! Learn more.
from the May 2014 issue

A Grapefruit

I'm holding a big round
golden grapefruit
that smells bitter.
A small knife
can cut through what seems
to be a thick skin—
I begin to shiver
in quiet pain.

A life without pain
is an unpicked
fruit: it rots.

I want to be a grapefruit cut
by a knife or bitten by teeth.
I’d rather have pain
and die in pain peacefully
than watch my body rot
with maggots squirming inside.

This whole winter
I’ve been doing one thing repeatedly—
peeling grapefruits one after another
absorbing the nutrients of my own death.


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