Saturday 18 June 2022

'Cantalouping' by Tara Isabel Zambrano

My nails ran on your ribbed surface, over every groove and freckle. Sold on a sunny sill of a fruit stall–you oblong, you circle, you salmon-ed crescent moon like Ma’s posture examining the boiling rice, talking to herself. I held you between my chest and arms like a newborn. At home, Papa put you in a bucket of water before cutting you open for dessert, equal chunks amongst the three of us. Ma slipped her portion into my plate and claimed she finished first. I was so hungry I gulped. Patience, Papa said. Ma took your seeds, soaked them in a bowl of water. For hours, she split the husks and chewed on their tiny softness. Empty white pods on the floor. A sliver of roseate flesh stuck to the side of her mouth. Papa started the radio and turned the lights off. The song was called Honeydew. That was the thing about the night, about happiness. From the open window, the stars meshed with the streetlamps. Rinds on the kitchen counter looked like craters. My parents tapped feet and sang, at times their voices slipping into near whisper. A seed chaff floated in the air. It looked so delicate as if about to break.

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