I have been sucking on lemons since I was four,
then sliced thin and tinted with gin, my gran would swish
the slice from her highball and bequeath me a slurp.
A young hedonist in love with a sour thing,
I had been preparing all my days for a challenge.
Recklessly, at fourteen, I ate a lemon whole.
Fluorescent caustic bulb: I bit deeply through its
waxy lizard skin en route to Old Gramp’s house.
I crunched up, squirming with cramps; clutching myself
as the bus left Great Victoria Station, best friend
looking at me with bewildered eyes. At fourteen,
there’s no pithy distinction between pleasure and pain.
Besides, I still go fishing for yellow moons: I plunge
bare fingers into every drink; letting the lemon discover
the cuts that have remained unnoticed until now.
Amy Louise Wyatt is a lecturer, poet and artist from Bangor, County Down. She has had work published in a range of established journals and magazines, including The Blue Nib, FourxFour and Lagan Online. Amy is the editor of The Bangor Literary Journal and has read at festivals throughout Ireland.
This poem was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing and published in the CAP Art Centre’s Poetry in Motion anthology.