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The Beauty of a Busted Fruit

When we were children, we traced our knees,

shins, and elbows for the slightest hint of wound,

searched them for any sad red-blue scab marking us

both victim and survivor.

All this before we knew that some wounds can’t heal,

before we knew the jagged scars of Great-Grandmother’s

amputated legs, the way a rock can split a man’s head

open to its red syrup, like a watermelon, the way a brother

can pick at his skin for snakes and spiders only he can see.

Maybe you have grown out of yours—

maybe you no longer haul those wounds with you

onto every bus, through the side streets of a new town,

maybe you have never set them rocking in the lamplight

on a nightstand beside a stranger’s bed, carrying your hurts

like two cracked pomegranates, because you haven’t learned

to see the beauty of a busted fruit, the bright stain it will leave

on your lips, the way it will make people want to kiss you.

from When My Brother Was an AztecFind it in the library

Copyright © 2012 Natalie Diaz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Natalie Diaz Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.