Winter 2022 - Poetry

Samantha Blysse Haviland

Pineapples in December

 

In the winter when my lips are chapped

I suck them into my mouth and bite off

 

the skin. Then I fill a bowl from the cafeteria

with pineapple and eat it out in the snow.

 

My ass gets wet and cold. The fruit soaks

into my gums. After, I bury my face

 

in the ground, and inhale snow

to help wash away the acidity. In war,

 

meteorologists help the army decide when

to attack—I guess the phrase rain or shine

 

is more complicated when the stakes are dead

bodies on New Year’s. I go back

 

to the cafeteria and drink five cups

of coffee. I am not tired. Or I am

 

not tired in the way one is usually tired.

The pineapple wasn’t fresh, but it’s December—

 

what do I expect? I fill the coffee with more sugar

and cream than my friends deem acceptable

 

but they are busy fighting their own battles

with algebra teachers and boys and drug

 

store iPhone chargers. They left me

to hold down the fort. Later, when my mouth

 

starts to bleed, I balance ice cubes

on my tongue and let them drop into

 

the sink. My laptop is open, propped up

on the toilet seat. There is a coloring book,

 

ramen, and a 13-ounce tub of Vaseline

in my Amazon cart. I am preparing

 

for a siege. I stare at the weather app on my phone

hoping that when the snow stops, my friends

 

might come back. The walls of my mouth bend

around the ice. The cold is just starting.

 


Samantha Blysse Haviland, originally from New York, is a high school senior studying Creative Writing at Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan. She has been published in the Interlochen Review.

 

 blue arrow curving left

This project is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council

Illinois Arts Council Logo

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.