Yesterday I held out a tangerine for you to eat,
you said you were hungry, and it was the only thing I had,
but I didn’t tell you that, instead I reached into my lint-filled pocket of my Abercrombie jacket
and it fit snugly into my palm, like a warm bulb of breath, like it was meant for giving to you.
You smiled but you shook your head, and I remember the way the sun shone on your skin that day,
like it formed a crown around your head, and I thought
maybe you didn’t want the tangerine, the pulp a little smushed from rolling in my pocket,
and you seemed to grow an inch taller when I walked away.
How could I have known that the memory of tangerines was still bitter on your tongue,
like sharp peppercorn cutting into flesh, squeezing,
and I realized the sun wasn’t trying to make you queen,
but rather telling me that you were afraid too.
If you had told me, I would’ve found something else for you to eat.
If you had told me, I would’ve told you that tangerines were bitter to me too, and it’s true!
We’ll boycott them together,
we’ll bury the stinging memory and replace it with new ones.
Yesterday, when I held out a tangerine for you to eat,
I forgot you were human as well, too absorbed in my insecurity,
and when I had walked away yesterday, I didn’t tell you
how afraid I was, the tangerine held in my firm grip.