Friday I sniffed it in the grocery store, turned it in my hands, looking for bruises in the rough, webbed rind. My mother's voice—the one I carry always in my head— pronounced it fine. Ripe,
but not too soft.
I bagged and bought it, would have given it to you for breakfast—this fruit first grown in Cantalupo, not far from Rome. I imagined you, my sleepy emperor, coming to the table in your towel toga, digging into the luscious orange flesh
with a golden spoon,
and afterwards, reclining, your smile satisfied,
Now I open the trunk of my car to find the cantaloupe still there, flattened, sour, having baked all weekend
in August's oven.
Grieving is useless, my mother would say,
Just get another.
Bur why am I so certain that no other fruit will ever be as sweet
the one I would have cut in half, scooped the seeds from, that one I would have given you on Saturday morning?