To Grow a Square Watermelon

My father was raised in a small crate

and has always liked it there.

We sit around the crate and talk to him

through air holes

that to him must look like stars.

Fruit, when grown to conform to boxes,

becomes stackable

and stationary.

When we remove the lid to feed him

and to show him how much we’ve grown,

he squints, ingests quickly and quietly,

asks to be nailed back in.

The fruit requires no special diet

to ensure retention of shape.

Sometimes we try to pry

the walls apart and splay it open

encourage him to stretch his limbs

but he clenches

    his eyes shut

        his knees to his chest

            his white-knot fists

and does not speak until we reconstruct the crate.

The cube-fruit is expensive

and sold as a delicacy or a gift.

He listens to our living

the room sounds

proudly identifies our patterns

He hears the television and cheers for the Dodgers

reads a small bible when the brightest daylight

speckles his interior

and we place bets on the day

he’ll want out.

The fruit must be harvested before it is ripe

and is usually inedible.

© Mike Kravolich

Copyright © 2016, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.


Katryce Lassle lives and works in Chicago. Her poems have appeared in Sliced Bread, a student-run literary magazine at the University of Chicago. She is a proud lizard mom.