Here’s a trick my mother used
to keep us from running wild at Giant Eagle:
Anything in the produce section,
we could have, so long as we ate it:
Starfruit, plantains, dragonfruit, lychee,
whole coconuts we hammered apart
in the driveway. The papayas
were long as my arm, heavy and alien,
green skin mottling to yellow,
their shapes absurd next to prim oranges
and apples. We laid down newspapers.
I pulled the carving knife from its cradle
in the block, knelt on the bench
at the trestle, and plunged in,
hacking through soft fruit till the halves
split open, coral flesh ragged
around a cache of seeds like caviar.
I could no longer remember why
I’d chosen it, why I’d been so hungry
to see inside. I pressed the halves together
along the jagged cut I’d made,
but the seeds spilled anyway, dark pearls
on newsprint, tiny universes.