The shape of emptiness

This afternoon a box arrives in the mail;
it reeks of the distinct perfume of guavas.
I know what they are because my friend
in California has told me to expect them.
And they have a particular smell: a little
like passionfruit, a little flowery.
She picked them from the tree in her yard:
abundance of sweet pink flesh in green jackets.
On one corner of the flat rate box, she printed
Perishable. Only two or three are smashed, within
the folds of foam padding. I wash them in the sink
and cut them up, scooping out the seeds. They simmer
over half an hour in a pot with water, sugar. Now
they are fruit butter, which I can smear on a piece
of toast or a cracker. Does any of what I do
really keep the fruit from rotting sooner,
the mouth from curiosity or hunger? No matter
how many gods I’ve learned from, all my life
there’s always been someone who thinks I’m
an impostor: how do I know what I know, and
do I even have the language to speak of it?
Long after heat has changed the fruit, a well
of odor lingers in the air. We like to ask
about emptiness, about what we think
couldn’t possibly be there— forgetting
there can be different forms for things.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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