The North Carolina Watermelon Queen

Harvest goddess
of rind and sweetness,
herald of August
leading Murfreesboro
in a parade down
Main Street, she waves

from a float decked
in green and pink.
Draped in a satin sash,
she shades her face
with a black-seeded
parasol, squinting

under a pale sky
looming like the awnings
at the farmers’ market.
Watermelons pile up
at her royal feet,
a sweet unstable heap.

She holds thick slabs
of fruit, rind striped
and sun-bleached, juice
dripping into her palm,
then hands her bounty
down to hungry kids.

After the festival,
she blesses every plate
in every restaurant,
her portrait beaming
from the shining backs
of the napkin dispensers.

Lauren Moore

Lauren Moore is a poet from North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Cellar Door, Event Horizon, Raincoat Magazine, and the Red Mud Review.

Cover image by Sarah Meadows

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