Fantasy with Nectarines

by Tan Tzy Jiun

Black bark weather in April. The city is half-clothed
in grey skies, lined with fleece. Outside, wreaths of clouds, 

near naked bodies foggy with oil paint behind windows. A small dog 
or three pulling on the leash. The city is barely emerging from

winter’s blanket. I am ready to burn paper, sacrifice
the newborn child, whatever it takes to lure spring back 

into the city walls. The grocery store wakes as the glass door slides 
open. It is early. The fruit section is still crowded with bird-sized

pleasures. Oh. The nectarines have returned to the crates,
flown in on birds from the southern hemisphere. Tightly 

spanxed, their curvaceous flesh dimple. Red pouches
swell like tender cheeks straining against thin rind. My tongue 

gloves its shoulders with viscous spit, I drape the thirst
over hanging breasts of grapefruits and lemons. The blueberries stare 

with their grit-filled eyes as I weigh the nectarines and swathe
them in plastic. I weigh the southern half of this sweet earth.

I then weigh the jealousy of the other fruits: the sullenness of wild
pears, the skinniness of purple plums, and my arch enemy—

bananas. I tie the skirt end of the bag filled with smooth
-skinned cheeks. I tell the plane-worn, eye-bagged mangoes 

it wasn’t them. It was me. Now the nectarine has returned, I am again
under her spell and no one else’s. I hurry home to guzzle sparkling

water, to wet the inside of my mouth for her skin. Then I eat
and eat on the loveseat, crescent away her full moons, 

suck her stomach clean. On the grill pan, rosemary steaks sizzle 
alongside lines of white asparagus. An apron hangs around my neck. 

My husband returns after work, teeth glinting like caviar.
We feed in eden, my salt-crusted contours and burnt edges 

soften in sweet, gravied frenzy. Dessert is next, so I nibble nervously
on my fingers. It is misty April, black with bark. A man knocks on the door, 

and then another. They discuss the species of my desire—
To what ends I will yield and dent. Then, we become 

a long night that refuses to sun.


Tan Tzy Jiun is a poet and historian from Malaysia. Her work is published and forthcoming in Here: a poetry journal, Stone of Madness Press, Sine Theta Magazine, Quince Magazine, and Eunoia Review, among others. You can find her on twitter tweeting her funny little words on @tzyjiun_