Ode to the Pomelo

Poetry by | May 24, 2009

It’s a contradiction, this curious round thing
changing from hard green to ripe yellow
with the bright blush of its hidden heart.
O pomelo, you filled my childhood in abundance
and you rolled down Davao streets like rain!

Familiar to my mouth as the mother tongue,
you defy my attempts at definition.
You’re too individual to be an orange,
and too charming to be called a lemon,
yet you mock the grapefruit’s pallid flesh.

How I struggle for words to contain
the thick bitter softness of your rind,
the juicy honeyed tang of your pulp!
But to hold you is to comprehend you
and to fathom you is to eat you.

In the artificial cold of supermarket stalls,
So small a gift from the Land of Promise,
I yearn to claim your ripening roundness
and partake your sweetness before it decays.
But they’ve put a price on you beyond my reach.

O pomelo, I long for you as I do my homeland
where we both were once free as eagles in flight.
I know inside you is full to bursting
with tales of home, much like my hidden heart
where my blood flows a bright pomelo pink.

—-
Genevieve Mae Aquino has a clutch of diplomas in molecular biology and genetics. She was fellow for Poetry in English at the INWW, ANWW, IYAS Creative Writing Workshops.