Today's poem is by Alison Stine
When I Taught Mary to Eat Avocado
She didn't understand.
You couldn't cut straight through with the big knife
because of the pit, or heart, or stone.
We gave it many names,
and when it was revealed, bone-shade,
heavy-bottomed, she wanted to keep it.
She washed it, and the skin
dried and crackled, lost shards. I taught her to salt
the pebbled rim, and dig with the tip
of a spoon, which is like a knife.
The flesh curl surprises, but it's a taste you'll miss.
When she stole the story I told then,
how the Aztecs locked up virgins
during the avocado harvest, how this was repeated
to others in her own language,
I knew we were bound to take
what we could from each other and go.
I didn't tell her what the name
for avocado meant, its connection
to the male body, which she wanted no part of,
which I am now a part of.
Perhaps that is the end
of the story, his flesh in my mouth. Perhaps
the women were not locked up,
but went, willing.
Copyright © 2002 Alison Stine All rights reserved
from The Kenyon Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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