THE HISTORY OF THE AVOCADO
tells us that this fruit was, to the Aztecs, a strange
testicle of the earth, bulbous seed weighing down
flesh that ripened only when the human hand
loosened it from its branch; that Cortez, ironically,
had difficult pronouncing its name but loved to eat it
sliced in thick chunks or spread over roast dog.
He thought it might be rich enough to neutralize poison
and although his men soon realized it was not
they discovered it tasted wonderful too with apples
or with bowls of cold water, or with nothing at all.
A Puritan once accused the avocado of being God’s
unborn son, the wrinkled, ugly egg that even angels
pray will never hatch on account of its unsightliness;
thus, avocados must be peeled with great care.
Do not be deceived by statistics, which indicate
that less than half of all American households
consume avocados. The fruit is quietly popular
with scientists, teachers, and parents, who have
admitted to showing children how to insert toothpicks
into the seed like spokes of light around a sun,
balance the seed over a glass of water, half submerged,
nurturing the growth of a new tree and all its implications,
a fatty fruit, its possible relationship with God,
the name that fails to fall over the lips of explorers.