Hannah Rubin


These little cuts do not hurt anymore

so I zest con brio and smile

I’m sorry, lemon, did you want

to hold onto your peel?                                    Too bad


I tried to save you, held you

gently in cupped hands

but your sprightly pigment faded

long ago, grew wan                                         and now the sky is crying


stellar dendrites from an empty space

a gash of raw epithelial tissue

when the grater tried

to zest my skin                                                 it stings


but I don’t care; these little cuts

do not hurt anymore, only when I want

to feel

the hurt                                                            and why should I?


so I zest con brio and smile

as the sky sheds citrus tears

I’m sorry, lemon, did you want

to hold onto your peel?                                    Too bad.



Hannah Rubin is 17 years old and lives in New Castle, NH, USA. She is in eleventh grade at Phillips Exeter Academy. Her writing has been honored by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the 2021 Racial Unity Poetry Competition, and has been featured in The Poet’s Touchstone and the Black Matter is Life poetry series. Currently she is a member of the NH Teen Poet Laureate Team, part of the Writing the Land project, and the Submissions Coordinator for The Poet’s Touchstone volume 64, issue 1.

"fruit decay" by Robynlou8 is marked with CC BY 2.0. To view the terms, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/?ref=openverse
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A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!