Setting Lemon Curd
BY MEGAN DENTON RAY
“The hands of the Almighty are so often to be found at the ends of our own arms.” –Sister Monica Joan My in-laws think I’m godless. They doubt my lemon curd. I say, but watch me cultivate and is my hunger not made by God? I’ve gone to the grocery again for good butter and eggs. Here I am at home now, cracking open one speckled egg or—a small reservoir in my chest. Out pours a hard-red amaryllis, my body freesia dinging along the gas pedal toward church. Toward the field of cattle. Toward groundwater madness, gravy sap. Toward pie! I say, this is what all lemons want to be when they grow up! I say, hallelujah it is well. God sees beyond the three gushing windows of my body: ribby, spindleshanked, sour-faced—sliding my hand across a chilling jar. Listen to the cows. The one hawk. The thinly sliced beating heart. The kitchen is wild with six alarms. Then it is shiny sugar and acid. Then it is finished. I catch a glimpse of myself at daybreak—drip-drying, leafless. At the center of my belly, wrapped in a basket: many lemons. Many wooden spoons.
The Bonnie Sun
BY MEGAN DENTON RAY
Sincerely: what is more intimate than swimming in the ocean with your beloved? O God, the slick. The spray. I think of my ex-lover, the last man to hold me—a wrapped parcel—in salty water. Sun-wet and smelling of limeade, my legs wrapped around him as he boosted me over the waves. I think of him, my first real sexual partner, and feel full of jellyfish. Can I? What if? Our weightlessness, our whistle-thick tongues, heads back in laughter. Maybe the sea itself is sexual by nature. Sincerely: the swell is mighty. Fish hooks are pushed through my lobes and someone on the shore is shrieking. The salt settles in my mouth. It’s complicated and biblical—this big bone lick, this allegiance to the first man who touched me and felt proud. First man of jewel-bright hardness— of mustard, milk, and gin. Jesus, come quick. I’m hungry and I’ve learned how to speak the language: a cosmic heaving. An orange bucket full of eels.