Obscurity

At the Asian market a woman in a flowered hat
asks me if I know how many bitter melon seeds

might be inside the seed packet she’s picked
from the rack and is shaking lightly beside

her ear; and if I think she might get more
if she just scooped out the ones nestled

in the hollow of the vegetable itself.
No one knows the answer, of course—

until the paper flap is torn open,
until the knife scores a seam

and two halves open on the counter.
Even then there is one more matter

of not knowing: among the wrinkled
pods pushed into the soil, which

will tendril into vine, and which
burrow into loamy forgetting.

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