Jennifer Whalen

A Cantaloupe

I bought a cantaloupe, left it round
on the counter—a small sign, offered
nourishment. It didn’t transform
into carriages. I stayed the same
in wonderment, four nights, then five,
silent. Some wise women claim the fruit
of the earth is always in the palm
of the hand. I’ve never tasted
a cantaloupe, unsure of what dish
to make. It’s warm in the room
where I contemplate past love.
How pleasant it seems with slight sweat
on skin. How round is the cantaloupe,
how unlike flowers or scented branches.
Potpourri, small candles; can I fragrant
a place into a home? I bought
a cantaloupe, cut it down to small slices
like dismembering a chair or remembering
a dead friend. How quickly
I eradicated these things from me, upset
I couldn’t swallow them whole.


Jennifer Whalen’s poems can be found or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Southern Indiana Review, FugueNew South, Grist, & elsewhere. She was the 2015-2016 L.D. & LaVerne Harrell Clark House writer-in-residence at Texas State University. She currently teaches English at the University of Illinois Springfield.