Alexandra Umlas is the author of the full-length poetry collection At the Table of the Unknown (Moon Tide Press). You can find her work in Rattle, Poetry Super Highway, and Cultural Weekly, among others. She serves as a reader for Palette Poetry and on the board of directors of Tebot Bach, a non-profit literary organization. Recently, she graduated from the M.F.A. Poetry program at California State University, Long Beach. Before becoming a poet, Alex taught middle school and high school English, earning an M.Ed. in Cross-cultural Education. Born in Long Beach, CA, she currently lives in Huntington Beach, CA with her husband and two daughters.

The Yellow Watermelon

Your gasp cut through
kitchen summer air
as I pushed the knife blade

through the other side:
green-striped skin to green-
striped skin, the halves

pulling away, the ruptured
split to the unexpected-
you had only seen glossy

pink-red insides over
and over. Imagine waking
to a magenta sky or the grass

suddenly blue, the world
turned sideways. Your surprise
when the flesh presented itself

marigold, as if the sun itself
was buried in those emerald
walls, waiting for escape.

Will it taste the same?
Your mouth found flesh, bit
into delight condensed

in impossible fruit. The world
holding itself out to us, slice
after astonishing slice-

published in


Once when I was five she offered
her teeth to me, her smile

a salmon, her bread-soft hands pointing,
laughing at the emptiness of a mouth,

then slid them back, delighted.
This is not her homeland. Her language

can't tell me the story of the teeth
or give them to me, can't pour grains

of them, like rice, shattering into a pot.
Those done bones, where did they go?

Now we walk in the whisper of corn
rowed in her back yard. She cradles

its fruit then yanks, quick, from the stalk,
peels the husk to small, compact kernels.

This is what she offers, not the wisdom
of words, but the care of growing

something that can nourish. Some thing
that starts underneath and rises,

blossoms, carries its seeds, is created
to be consumed. The sun slices through

those desiccated stalks, the sweet milk
strains underneath.

published in The Museum of Americana


We buy mangos with expectations-
already taste the flower-sweet

juice on our tongues. Their green-
orange swirled skins speckled

from being Earth-bound, heavy
with juice, waiting, wind.

My husband takes the knife,
positions it off-center and glides

down each side, crisscrossing
steel through sugar, like a fish

through water. Then, folding
each side out, the yolk-gold

flesh arching, he releases it
into porcelain bowls. It's best

eaten like this, spoon and sunlight
in the early quiet of a new day,

the creamed coffee still steaming
from our cups, the blue

stretch of sky like a new skin,
ripe and waiting to be lived in-

published in New Limestone Review


Alexandra Umlas



© 2020 Alexandra Umlas


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