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on mornings with the women who raised me

By Taylor NealPublished 5 months ago 2 min read


I see my mother’s hands

as I slice the cantelope

in the morning.

“rockmelon,” here in Australia,

not to be mistaken

with honeydew.

I see her standing at the counter,

8am, before school,

across from my sister and I

as we spoon our Cheereos

- Noname, unsweetened -

and drink our orange juice

thawed from a can.

first in half, she slices the melon

then in fourths,

eighths -

and her toast would pop up

and she would pause,

8 crescent melon moons

sit patiently on the counter

and wait.

she’d use the tip of the knife to

cut out the gooey middle and

make a pile of guts

on one end of the cutting board,

then she’d slice away the

hard skin.

she’d cut down from one end

to the middle

flip it around

and cut from the other side

and I’d watch her,

and silently cheer her on

to make perfect cuts

and get all the tough green exterior

off of the sweet orange

in one go.


she’d have to go back

and slice those little bits of green


and I’d keep my eyes on them

until she got them all,

and she always did.

she’d place a glass bowl on the counter

and chop the skinned moons

into bite-sized chunks,

popping one into her mouth

for every piece that went into the bowl

or maybe that was me?

little hands reaching across the counter

to be involved.

8 slices would be prepped this way;

some into Tupperware

for us to take to school,

some left in the bowl

to be covered in saran wrap

and placed in the fridge.

my dad hates melon,

so this was always just for us.

she’d finish chopping just in time

to pack up and head out the door,

off we went.

nana would use a melon baller.

slower, softer,

less efficient,

more fun,

and somehow the taste of the melon

was changed

by the novelty experience

of being at nana’s

and scooping the soft fruit

into little balls

one at a time.

one into my mouth

one into the bowl

one into her mouth

one into the bowl,

cover in saran wrap,

place in the fridge

to have later

atop our cottage cheese

with our salad plates

at lunch.

cantelope tastes like

the tender mundanity

of mornings undefined

with the women who raised me.

as an adult,

buying cantelope

feels like a treat.

never the actual fruit itself


but the purchase of the fruit

with the intention

of chopping it up and seeing

my nana’s hands

my mother’s hands

my hands,

gripping the knife.

I cut away the green bits

and find the perfect bowl

for generations of mornings,

of fruit in the fridge.

I see my mother’s hands

as I slice the cantelope

in the morning;

“rockmelon,” here in Australia,

and place it in a glass bowl

on the counter

to have later

atop my cottage cheese

with lunch.


About the Creator

Taylor Neal

A multi-disciplinary artist, writer and sex worker's advocacy support worker, Taylor's cumulative practice comes together as a holistic exploration of identity, sexuality, and how the embodied subject navigates space and the natural world.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (5)

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  • Rick Henry Christopher 4 months ago

    Beautifully worded. I feel like I got the personal tour into your life with the most important women in your life. I really enjoyed reading this. You put it all together so smoothly and so intelligible it was such a pleasure to read. Outstanding work! I also just subscribed to you.

  • Paul Stewart4 months ago

    Instant new subscriber. my wife happened to read this out loud yesterday and I was transfixed by it. What a lovely travel through time, using food as the connector. This is sublime, Taylor! Love it!

  • Naomi Gold5 months ago

    Such a beautiful glimpse into your past. I loved the flow of this too.

  • Cendrine Marrouat5 months ago

    Hello Taylor! Beautiful poem, to say the least. It's always interesting to see how food helps build memories.

  • Melissa Ingoldsby5 months ago

    Absolutely stunning 💕😃

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