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Melissa Hobbs

A Squirt of Lemon

It's good to squirt lemon on a poet,
just as you would on a fish dinner.
Tartness puckers meat from gills.
Seagulls cry, pitching
beach-strewn fragments.
The poet gathers them in her bucket.

Twenty-nine years after womb prayer,
the poet's son shoulders no ease.
He hoisted a fisherman's sinking tackle
above the high tide of a wasted life.
The fishwife cinched albatross laws
around his Samaritan neck.
His hands were cuffed behind his back,
and full beard faced black-robed justice.
The poet heard Jonah ranting
during her son's three days
in the underground jail.

It's good to accept those times
when no words become the catch of the day.
The fishing boat scuppers scratch her scales.
The angling poet washes overboard.
She drags beneath the watery wake,
and catapults into the eddy.

When fresh rain sprinkles
over toothy leaves of lemon balm,
it's good to drink the tea
a ladder up her spine.
A tick hatches in the equal rain,
and crawls up the pant leg
of the meditating poet.
Like a pricked finger on a spinning wheel,
followed by the red bite kiss
from the miniature prince,
a new poem hatches
with a squirt of words.

Melissa Hobbs earned her BA in English literature from Kent State University in Ohio. After a career in insurance with the State of California and raising 2 children, she pursues her writing in the San Francisco Bay area with a first collection of poems, to be published soon. She gathers inspiration from birds, meditation, the challenge of human relationships, and teaching refuge children.

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