Seed and Stem
All summer long the mango trees shed
The best parts of themselves,
I didn’t even need to scrabble up them
To find it and our mothers screamed from the porch
When we did that anyway.
The ones that fell first were bitter
After you tore the skin off
So we didn’t keep them and threw them away
Seed and stem, into the shade of the farmhouse.
They rotted all summer long
While we climbed and stole the better ones, the newer ones,
Which were sweeter than you could wish for
And sickly when you ate too many.
Which of course we did,
Too young to know any outside limits.
The greener mangoes eventually ripened and fell
But we’d had our fill by then
And they rolled and rotted with the ones before them.
That was after we were gone though,
By a time when we’d eaten all we could
And there was nothing left to climb
Or find. Nothing green anymore.
Or maybe there was and I just wasn’t there
To see it. When you’re plucked seed and stem,
You don’t get a chance to know.