Begin by scouring the ground
for fallen cupules; if they are
scarce, irritate the branches and run
before the spines cascade. Approach
with cautious feet; toe them gently
and begin with burrs already kissed
open. Using a lever or the soles
of your shoes, pry apart the split;
expose the fruit. Expect two or three
within each hollow. Note at one
end, a flame-tip; the other, a pale
attachment scar. After gathering,
remember the fruit has two skins –
the outer husk is polished, the inner
adheres closely to the seed itself.
To loose the fruit inside, cut an X
into the skin of each nut. Boil
the marked stones, let them cool
until they can be handled. Peel the now-
lenient shell and reveal the delicate flesh,
sweet and supple-white. Remember
how the husk was hard. Remember
that the spines were sharp.
Elizabeth Bodi is an English adjunct at Northern Virginia Community College and a recent George Mason University poetry MFA graduate. She currently lives in Northern Virginia. Her work can be seen in Booth, Cobalt, Painted Bride Quarterly, and is forthcoming in Sou’Wester.
The meal she always hungers for is a huge, hot bowl of oxtail soup with white rice and a nice spattering of coarse salt: simple, savory, perfect.
Back to Issue 4: Hungry Things