A Woman’s Right to Choose

by Katarina Merlini

It’s nearly pornographic
to see the way she slaps
the melons
at 9:30 on a Saturday morning:
hand winding back,
palm connecting,
fingers lingering,
listening for a resonate
or not depending
on the ripeness.
The baby slung across her chest
stares at me across her shoulder,
shielded by a mass
of blonde waves.
What is it thinking?
What does it want
with its small blue eyes,
and small moist mouth?
I wave, thinking
I had one of you,
though I suppose
never as large as a melon.
My mother had one of you,
but it got too large,
and here I am.
The woman, having found
her perfect melon,
pays the man and smiles at me.
She is beautiful. I tell her
her baby is beautiful
and select my melon
without a single palming.
I pay for it, in cash, and the man smiles,
toothless, says they’re fine melons.
I agree. Each one
more pretty than the last.

Katarina Merlini is a writer from Michigan who currently lives in Chicago. She earned her MFA from the University of South Carolina.