Lunch Poems

Spanking the Arils From a Pomegranate

Aril: “an extra seed-covering, typically colored and hairy or fleshy, e.g., the red fleshy cup around a yew seed.”

Nature has given me a jewel,
Says NPR. At pomegranate-dot-
O-R-G the no-mess in one,
Two, three steps guarantee a fool-
proof pick. One: cut the crown and lot
The fruit in sections. Two: now run
Your fingers through the sections in
A bowl of water. Three: toss skin,
Water, and membranes. Eat and grin.

Homer mentions pomegranates—
Le pomme garnete, crop of the gods,
Fertility and hope in lore,
Solar system-tiny planets,
Prosperity, cephalopod,
A Chinese apple minus core,
Granatum, rustic beauty long
Been inspiration for a song
Or sculpture, laurel with spiked prong—

This is my poem about a fruit.
A blacker berry’s not as sweet
As a knife, two dripping halves and spoon-
Back bitch-slapped skin. And it’s a beaut’.
As Nature’s wife, gifted, I beat
The stubborn arils out; and, for
The sake of boredom, beat them more
Than necessary, candy store

Red Hots clotting the cutting board,
Gripping the knife’s serrated blade.
If I wore aprons, they’d be stained.
The emptied membranes, bruised and cored,
Are preemie craniums, afraid
With gaping sockets. Overstrained,
As muse, they could be a face or letter,
A whetstone, or a scarlet whetter.
I eat my young. O, I feel better.

Erica Dawson’s first collection, Big-Eyed Afraid, won the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Best American Poetry 2008, and other journals and anthologies.  Poems from her new manuscript, Cottontail, have appeared in Harvard Review, Raintown Review, and other publications. She is Assistant Professor of English and Writing at University of Tampa, and Poetry Editor of the Tampa Review. More by Erica Dawson