Discovering the pomegranate

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When I was young,

I saw a picture of a pomegranate in a book

and asked my mother

to bring one home.

She did, and

sliced that lovely skin the color of sunsets,

revealing not the flesh-like pulp I’d imagined,

but

hard seeds in liquid that looked like blood.

I took some and put them in my mouth.

They made me think of teeth,

rolling on my tongue,

covered in that sanguine juice

unbearably sweet,

but like

something flowing from a wound.

I knew

why this was the fruit

Hades had used

to keep Persephone in the underworld.

I could take

photographs of pomegranates forever,

but I will never eat one again.

Inside

that skin like the sky

is brutal death.

___________________________

I wrote this poem a few years ago, and posted a version of it on my old blog. My thoughts on pomegranates haven’t changed, although I’ve gotten to know them better — my mother-in-law gets them from a local farm and laboriously grinds the seeds to make juice (which I always find bitter). Do you have strong feelings about a kind of food?

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