Poem | Kumquat

(David von Diemar/Unsplash)

A kumquat bush crouches in the sedge
                        at playground’s edge
                        and I stand in the sand

mashing one of its persimmon thumbs
                        till oil prickles perfume
                        pills on its wax skin.

If I bite into this thin bright hide’s
                        sweet zest no marmalade
                        can pickle or preserve

until the fruit itself squirts acid over
                        those segments like
                        an orange’s in miniature

yet sourer than a lemon’s for
                        pretending not to be
                        and cankered by

tiny twisted pits, aborted kindnesses
                        one might call specks
                        in a neighbor’s eye

might I be able to swallow this
                        fruit of spite?
                        Might I like it?

Published in the July/August 2021 issue: 

Danielle Chapman is a poet and essayist. Her collection of poems, Delinquent Palaces, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2015. Her poems have appeared in the Atlantic and the New Yorker, and her essays can be found in the Oxford American and Poetry. She teaches literature and creative writing at Yale.

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