Jessica Pierce

In Kolkata, In the House off Rosh Behari, Mala Tries Her First Ever Plum

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. 

—Jessica Pierce

Published in The Christian Science Monitor, September 2009.

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