Mala Tries Her First Ever Plum (for Calcutta)

A poem.

Her mother tongue fails her
in this moment – she has no words for
what she holds in her hand.
It's like watching someone study rounded, purpled
light. I give her a piece and she licks
at the edge where skin releases flesh,
squints at the tartness, pauses
and I hold
an image of my father
laying out a plate of pitted and sliced
plums during their
fleeting season – a small,
tender gesture with small, tender fruit.

Her pause gives way to a bite
which gives way to a rush
of a smile as she finds
sweetness. And for a moment –
as Mala declares I would eat these
every day if I could –
this hot throbbing day in this hot
throbbing city expands until
I can almost believe it holds home.

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