WHEN I EAT A PEACH
by Nina Romano
When I eat a peach–take for granted it’s ripe and succulent and its syrupy, luscious liquid drips down my arm, peachy with sunburn–it’s eternally summer.
When I eat a peach my mouth fills with sweet moist juices, yellow flesh and downy skin and I think of Grandpa–me sitting on his lap when I was five in the turnip white kitchen on 85th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
When I eat a peach I recall how Gramps peeled the fruit straight from his garden right off the peach tree I climbed by the bird bath surrounded by lilac iris–Grandma’s favorite flower–plump pieces plop into a jelly glass full of red wine.
When I eat a peach I remember summer days on Point Lookout–I was eighteen when my brother lifeguarded–I read magazines and wrote torrid love stories till his practice session with grappling hooks was over. They were cold, overcast days with wild waves after storms–not at all like summer’s supposed to be at the beach.
When I eat a peach I see Margherita’s nimble hand holding a paring knife, the skin falling in one long ribbon, white-flesh exposed. We sat on the porch of her rented cottage in Circeo the summer we found the dead dog, tawny-haired and matted, decaying in the wild blackberry brambles by the lake. Beniamino, her father, was still alive then. How those memories ignite a match, like flamed peach brandy. When the fire died, we said in unison, “Cin-cin,” and sipped the overripe peach-colored liquid, so warm on cool nights with summer’s passing. How I am young again with this taste on my tongue, how I am consumed once more by a sweetness I possessed. Where did it go?
When I eat a peach at dusk this summer season in Utah, so many miles from Brooklyn and Italy, I spy my youth shadow me as it slips through trees, ghosts of live beings, creatures of such strength and sinewy muscle. I’m mesmerized, transformed, reincarnated into a girl who lived for broad summer days to think, to write, to "beach it" with my brother, to be fed by hands of people I love.
When I eat a peach, I inhabit the delectable fruit just bloomed, picked and peeled, pungent and precious as summers past. Come bite and savor.
Nina Romano earned an M.A. from Adelphi University and an M. F. A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. Her short fiction, memoir, reviews and poetry appear in The Rome Daily American; The Chrysalis Reader; Whiskey Island; Gulf Stream Magazine; Grain; Voices in Italian Americana; Vox; Chiron Review; The Salt Lake City Weekly; Rough Writer’s Ink; Mangrove Review; Irrepressible Appetites; Roads Literary Magazine; Night Train; A Little Poetry;ExPatLit and GULFSTREAM!NG; Grey Sparrow Journal; The Northville Review; and will soon appear in the Bosphorous Art Project Quarterly and Strong Verse.
Excerpts from her novel-in-progress, The Secret Language of Women, appear in Dimsum: Asia’s Literary Journal and also in Driftwood.
Romano’s debut poetry collection, Cooking Lessons, was published in June, 2007 by Rock Press, and submitted for a Pulitzer Prize.
Her new collection, Coffeehouse Meditations, is forthcoming from Kitsune Books.