Persimmons and Pomegranates

I.

All through elementary school

blonde beautiful lip reading teachers

would try to correct my “th”s by snaking

their tongues between their teeth and

holding it there, ripe cherries

tempting me to bite into them.

 

This was the one thing my withdrawn self

throbbing with the first thrusts of male

enthusiasm couldn’t stop thinking about—

all those thin throats with patchouli scents

wildly, willingly, whispering interdental fricatives

like a throng of French kisses to my thirsty lips.

I thoroughly desired the apples of their necks—

to chew them, suck them, swallow them,

eat them all -all of them- all of it,

every one so meaty-sweet and

erupting with wet dreams.

 

They would undress themselves,

my harem besides me on the river bank,

their white stomachs dewy and shivering,

the ribbiting Croquis behind the marsh

chanting to me to instruct these chicas

in the ch’s— chas,  cha-chas, chochas

of the Puerto Rican mating call

with no use for this, that, these, thems,

just the rich vowels of legs parting

telling them each were

ella es hermosa como la luna.

(She is beautiful as the moon.)

 

Once Senorita Lujuria brought to class

a persimmon plucked from her garden

ripe with the musky  smell

of what the girls thought was chocha

and the boys imagined was cum

that she sliced into two equal suns. 

 

Knowing that it wasn’t ripe or sweet

I refused the first bite she offered.

I watched the  others spit it out,

their palms full of bitter disappointment.

 

II.

When I got home my mother was cutting

off the crown of a pomegranate, scooping

out the core without disturbing the berries,

scoring just through the outer rind, until

it quartered and could be gently pulled apart.

I stuck out my hand and she inverted the skin

until the berries fell warmly filling my palm

and then into a red plate

 

Her body was a bruise, especially her hands

I gently rolled her wheelchair

to her cluttered room

where she sang an old Spanish song

asking for the ghosts to take her away.

Her song swelled and she cried it out of her

heavy with sadness and sweet with love.

 

After she had passed I stumbled upon

three scrolls tied with purple velvet string

folded under a down blanket in the basement.

 

I unrolled three paintings done by my mother

in the Frida Kahlo style.

 

The first was a self- portrait of her holding

a quartered pomegranate in one hand,

a sliced persimmon in the other.

The second was of her staring out at the ocean,

her body bulging with the idea

of my joyous conception.

The last, was an erotic tableau

of her and Senorita Lujuria

in a forbidden embrace, signed and

dated two years before I was born.

 

The first two painting had the deftness

of a thousand skilled repetitions,

the taboo one sprawled with arthritic loops

but still had the talent of muscle memory.

My eyes teared with the knowledge that

my mother never lost the things she loved,

her son, the colors, scents and textures

of all the persimmons and pomegranates

so neatly sliced and lustily devoured.