Give, Take

Joshua Resnick | Shutterstock

When life gave me lemons, my father said for me to make a lemon drop shot
Sour citrus, simple sugar, and volatile vodka
Swirl it in a tiny glass; the concoction followed itself with the circular strokes
 of a teaspoon
Bottoms up
Nothing meshed like it was supposed to
But the lemon juice, ancient as it was, still caused my lips to pucker
The sugar stuck to the bottom of the glass, not to my taste buds like I wanted
The vodka zipped down to the very depths of my mortal core
My soul felt the burn, tasted rotten sunshine, and had just enough to cure her
 sweet tooth
And it was all just enough to take care of the sniffles
Just enough to settle the hurricane in my head
Tone down to soft, lapping brain waves
Push and pull, push and pull
By the gravity of a midnight moon
These thoughts drag along the sand, breaking down into the grains itself
After all, life’s a beach

When I’m at this beach, I just have to have the tide wash over
Wash over me without taking me out to sea
If I let go too easily, I’d be captured and rolled up in the waves
To be surrounded by water that not even gods could control
Eventually I will drown
My lungs take in salt water, aching to burst
My nose plugs up, being one of the first senses to immediately fill
And my eyes, they can’t tell the difference between the tears
Night after night, they can’t tell the difference

My fate changes when I stay put on the shore
The tide washes over while I just sink my toes into the sand
Let it cling to my sun-soaking skin
Rake my fingers against it
And to collect beneath my fingernails these bits of sediment
To only have them dug out and returned to the earth
I try not to take too much for granted, not even the smallest grain
I also try to keep my hands clean
Because when life hands me lemons
I don’t want to squeeze so hard that juice gets everywhere
Coat my fingers and slip into every sliver-sized cut
Digging into these tiny wounds with the sand and salt water
Hurt myself even more just to make a refreshing drink
Besides, a shot is only so small
Some days I might want to make some lemonade
Keep it clean from the sand
Not have it bitter by the ocean
And have it sweet enough to stretch lips out into a smile
To have enough to share for two

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