Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

[Two Poems]

by Diane Lockward

For the Love of Avocados

I sent him from home hardly more than a child.
Years later, he came back loving avocados.
In the distant kitchen where he’d flipped burgers
and tossed salads, he’d mastered how to prepare

the pear-shaped fruit. He took a knife and plied
his way into the thick skin with a bravado
and gentleness I’d never seen in him. He nudged
the halves apart, grabbed a teaspoon and carefully

eased out the heart, holding it as if it were fragile.
He took one half, then the other of the armadillo-
hided fruit and slid his spoon where flesh edged
against skin, working it under and around, sparing

the edible pulp. An artist working at an easel,
he filled the center holes with chopped tomatoes.
The broken pieces, made whole again, merged
into two reconstructed hearts, a delicate and rare

surgery. My boy who’d gone away angry and wild
had somehow learned how to unclose
what had once been shut tight, how to urge
out the stony heart and handle it with care.

Beneath the rind he’d grown as tender and mild
as that avocado, its rubies nestled in peridot,
our forks slipping into the buttery texture
of unfamiliar joy, two halves of what we shared.



My New Boyfriend Covers Me Like a Floral Scarf

He wraps himself
around me, tucks me
inside his jeans, all

slim legs and authentic
fit. My skin of pima
cotton, his shameless

chambray. Oh, V-neck!
Scoopneck! Boatneck!
Most precious marled

sweater, he comes
in colors—aubergine,
marine, marmelade—

and just as my father
forewarned, I am ruined
by cashmere. Snug around

my waist like a filigree belt,
and, his leggings, Sweet
Lord, they stretch. He slides

me into a cami, bedecked
in lace. Cascading color
block tunic, draped dolman

sleeve shirt, perfection
of elliptical cardigan. Even
my soft-pleat skirt. He slips

into my drawers, soft
and silken, encircles
my neck, covers me

in blossoms, down to my
snake-embossed feet.
Look, I am style in bloom.


SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

Diane Lockward

is the author of The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop and three poetry books, most recently Temptation by Water. Her previous books are What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress. Her poems have been included in such journals as Harvard Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Gwarlingo, and The Writer’s Almanac.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury