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.