Lemons and Billy
My big brother used to eat lemons.
Six at one sitting. Each hacked
in threes with a butcher knife,
the strikes of its wide metal blade against
the Corningware dish reverberating.
The wet, soft yellow fruit lay before him,
crescent overtures, poised
like small boats of offering.
My brother would sink his teeth through their glistening
flesh, sucking the rind—acidy juices escaping
from between his teeth, mingling with bubbles of his spit—
a fizz at the corners of his mouth.
Relishing in its bitterness, the sweet high
exaggerated by his groans of exalted revulsion,
the whites of his blue eyes
matching the shine of the lemon's peel.
I would marvel at this phenomenon—
and eye him from the other end of the couch,
as he lapped up the remaining juices from his full lower
lip, sated, his eyes blank,
pale reflectors of the TV screen before him.
I would study the plate he'd leave behind,
lemon cadavers abandoned, haphazardly
strewn like shipwrecked vessels, skins
curled in upon themselves, tooth punctures indelible.
As he would amble out of the room
and feast his eyes upon himself in the hallway mirror,
sticky sweat ablaze on his brow,
I witnessed what he must have felt
leaving my bedroom each night,
clicking the door shut behind him.