Guava is not a fruit
but a waxy green orb I pick
from Patel Brothers after tres leches days
and random street slices

I add rock salt and it becomes a sharp trip back
to India of sudden pelting rains
When hair stuck to our scalps
we eagerly ate fruit and salty lips

Guiding ten-years-old fingers
and paper boats
to soggy safety of respective mouths

A memory made pulpy by distance
its seeds wedged inside my throat
The shiny skin when knifed
now yields tartness, and very little juice


Guava is not a fruit
but an Indian afternoon lingering red
in a summer adolescence

The seeds in the green flesh as many to count
as Laali’s shrieks of annoyance
for us children ravaging her tree
and her lover’s sleep
Her sighs came floating down the window
Long drawn, ripe and edible


Image: In Full Sunlight (En plein soleil), James Tissot (French, Nantes 1836–1902 Chenecey-Buillon)