The dust blew in, covered our sheets.
We barely touched. Is dust
a season? Or the absence
of rain? We touched
infrequently, but you brought me
fruit, cradled in the hem of your t-shirt.
The apple clings to the nut’s
hard shell, the flesh stringy
and astringent. Djidja taught us
how to crack them,
to extract the meat without touching
the poisonous resin that surrounds it.
Anacardium occidentale: Far Eastern
Heart. Is it the drupe–its muscled
blush--or the seed’s hidden
In Portuguese its name might mean
tangled skein. But it wasn’t Portuguese
we spoke. What we learned
was something else: rough-skinned
and elliptical, at once newer
and more primitive.
Above the branch, the moth’s
white-paned wings are marked
No. Don’t call them eyes.
We picked more than we could eat.
The fruit, unsuitable
for transport, rotted on the ground.
We ate until our bellies ached.
And now the bell-shaped emptiness
ringing on my tongue. Its tannic
sting. We ate until
the trees were bare,
until the fruit was gone.
Author Discusses Poems