Mango: An Inheritance with a High Error Rate
The slick gush of you. The stain and stick
of you. How you fill cheeks like the residue
of a tongue bitten nearly in two. The way
you linger in the air with the fleetest of flies
no one can catch except with leftover wine
rotting in wide-mouthed glasses along with
the lead points of bodies I collect like coins
until the liquid chokes with them. This is about
how I’ve loved you for so long I’ve grown weary
of you, fragrant wild grenades percussing through
the night onto the shards of the pool deck,
pinging off drainpipes and catching in gutters,
splattering the slats of the solar panels with
such force that I sleep dreaming of ancestral dangers.
And all the abundance you bring, the family members
who clamor for you and bring back breads and chutneys
and salsas made too saccharine with you, dishes to spoil
in the back of the refrigerator. And your pits that root
themselves in oolite and silt from squirrel-gnawed fruit,
thrusting up seedlings when no one is looking, that might
or might not bear if allowed to grow, but will be
considered new varieties if they do, those genes
throwbacks to every Asian, Latin, and Caribbean
tree that contributed to their lineages. And those who will
name you, guess again, rename you. And the food
pantries that won’t take you even though you are fresh,
unprocessed, because this is no longer how America
embraces anything: in their colorful, foreign-born skins.
Read other Letters to America in Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, published by Terrain.org and Trinity University Press.
Header photo by Yaruniv Studio, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Jen Karetnick by Zoe Cross.