This is the story of how lemonade becomes watermelon. It begins at the carp, you posing for my artsy slow-motorcade and timing larva pierces, artsy, smudgy neon pierces, while we laughed like chimeras who have no idea what’s coming. It begins the last time we make lubricant, a Sunday morning when we were still enamored with ourselves. It begins in yoga, heaven burning through me, purifying, reaching my handcuff out to you on your mate. We would both learn new words that day: troponin. Stint. I was across the long odd the second time, the one that undid you. We cried into the photocopier in our sequin timing: They are all like pirates you say. They’re so young and they have so many tattoos. And then you became afraid. The third and fourth times. Afraid of the fireplace. Afraid of contact lenses. Afraid of towels. Afraid of your own body—how it had betrayed you. Afraid of the Britta watermelon filter—sure it was poisoning you. On the counters, sterilized jars of boiled watermelon cooling. “Habitue watermelon” we called it. And then my armfuls around the tryst of a trench, sobbing privately in the waning light. It ends the time I came home and you were gone, cryptic love note under my concentration: Remember me as I was. I ripped it up and regretted it. This is how lemonade becomes water. This is the stranger of your heartland.

Sliding in here late–hi all! xo

11 Comments

  1. Chelsea Stickle

    Nancy! This piece has so many great lines! “we laughed like chimeras who have no idea what’s coming” feels like one of those lines I’ll think of often. “Afraid of your own body—how it had betrayed you.” I mean, oof. That one hurt. “This is the stranger of your heartland” really brings it all home. “This is how lemonade becomes water” is really great, too.

  2. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Nancy, this is a terrific, fun romp. Such an effective use of repetition with phrases like ‘it begins with’ or ‘afraid of,’ And overall, your unusual choices of words, word play, odd turns of phrases. For example, I wasn’t certain if your line ‘reaching my handcuff to you on your mate’ was meant to be “mat” as in yoga mat. But I love mate more!!! I was chuckling throughout and said HALLELUIA!!! at the end first time around! I love how ultimately the lemonade becoming the watermelon, is the set-up for what the entire piece, thus the great one word title, is all about. And isn’t every relationship constantly morphing, and transmogrifying, and never static? Yet, in this subtle and fantastic way, starting out with the fruit, and ending with the lemonade into water toward the end is brilliant. The new words. Maybe one other third thing that seemed unusually specific like the yoga and new words. Some oddball activity that only these two might do. Perhaps I just want to live in this alternative world a line or two longer?

    • Nancy Stohlman

      I wasn’t sure if I should even share this version, but this is the original before I butchered the words, which is why there are oddballs, as you call them. xoxo
      Transfiguration
      This is the story of how lemonade becomes water. It begins at the carnival, you posing for my artsy slow-motion and time lapse pictures, artsy, smudgy neon pictures, while we laughed like children who have no idea what’s coming. It begins the last time we make love, a Sunday morning when we were still enamored with ourselves. It begins in yoga, the heat burning through me, purifying, reaching my hand out to you on your mat. We would both learn new words that day, like troponin. Stint. I was across the ocean the second time, the one that undid you. We cried into the phone in our separate time zones: They are all like pirates you say. They’re so young and they have so many tattoos. And then you became afraid. The third and fourth times. Afraid of the fireplace. Afraid of contact lenses. Afraid of salt. Afraid of your own body—how it had betrayed you. Afraid of the Britta water filter—sure it was poisoning you. On the counter, sterilized jars of boiled water cooling. Gypsy water we called it. My arms fully around the trunk of a tree, sobbing privately in the waning light. It ends the time I came home and you were gone, cryptic love note left under the computer: Remember me as I was. I ripped it up and regretted it. Jars of cold gypsy water. This is how lemonade transfigures. This is the story of your heartland.

  3. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Nancy, so thrilled you posted the original, so all can see the differences here. And what you can do, is to print up both versions, placing them side by side. Then write an entirely new 3rd version, drawing from the best of BOTH DRAFTS!!!

  4. Meg Tuite

    Hi Nancy,
    LOVE both versions! How fear takes over something so precious. WOW! Both are beauties beyond the beyond but ‘carp’ cut me short. I didn’t place it in the musicality and movement of the piece. And then carnival. YES! I also say go for a third merging of the two. DEEP LOVE AND DEEP SADNESS! What a gorgeous rendition of a relationship and how it morphs! LOVE THIS!

  5. Sarah Freligh

    I love both versions! That’s such a fabulous first line, the declarative voice with its firm but quiet insistence that this is so. I like Robert’s idea of doing a third version combining both, especially because how altering the opening sentence to “This is how lemonade becomes water” feels just right here.

  6. Adrian Frandle

    This is lovely and sad – even though the imagery was wild in the best way, it still felt intimate to the moods and sensibilities of the piece and i felt held and cared for by the collected images. i loved both versions, but was very struck by this bit from the first: “It begins the last time we make lubricant, a Sunday morning when we were still enamored with ourselves. It begins in yoga, heaven burning through me, purifying, reaching my handcuff out to you on your mate.” the soft lulling of yoga/heaven/purifying adjacent to “handcuff” almost foreshadowed the loss at the end, but didn’t feel out of place.

  7. David O'Connor

    Nancy, I love both versions, love them to juicy bits. The movement, the details, almost a story, almost a painting, strobing emotions–just how life feels. So good, hits home! More!

  8. John Steines

    Hi Nancy, glad I got back here to read this. It strangely reminds me of my first relationship, oh so many years ago, when i was in rescue mode, and the pianist-artiste was in flip out post electroshock mode. 2+2…. So this hits me: ‘Remember me as I was.’ for it’s deep truth and associated pain & failure. Lesson learned, luckily – for me. I love what you’ve put here and how it affects me. Somehow I would never let go of both sides – good/bad/dreamland/nightmare. Can’t tell you why this leaves me so settled and feeling complete, but it does. There, you did that! Pretty damn good work, IMO. Best.

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