Skip Navigation

Text Only/ Printer-Friendly

Pomegranate Duty

read by the author

The time’s come round again: blind pomegranates shine
In their cellar bin like tawny Tuscan wine.

Peeling and rinsing will steal my afternoon.
I try to put them off, but they will have me very soon

Shucking glassy citadels out of their stiff leather jackets
Flushing black seeds away and stuffing plastic packets

Row on row, until the hinges of my freezer-door
Complain against my labour and won’t take any more.

What is it? I ask myself, there must be a reason
Beyond my father and the turning of the season —

And why the urgency, this itching in the blood?
It’s s not the taste — you could hardly call them food.

Yet here’s my father again, in the same old patch of sun,
Hunched over, halving and scooping, one by perfect one,

Sucking his corn-cob pipe, though it’s long sputtered out,
Insisting that I join him, grunting against his gout.

And then he’s off, and I’m alone with the radio
Hoping this time the fruit will walk toward me, although

They seem quite deaf to any wish of mine; they simply squat.
I guess it’s up to me.
                                 Easing myself from the spot

Where all decisions are made as the falling days go round
Between my lowbrow ceiling and the all too solid ground,

I clomp down the cellar-stair, take the top one in my hand.
I close my eyes and turn it, very slowly. It’s cooler than the wind.       

I can almost hear the small sea that washes under its rind.