My favorite fruit
Para kay Lola, habang siya ay nasa ospital.
That’s what we call it in the Philippines,
that sweet citrus fruit
that bursts with a cool tropical flavor
the moment that it meets your lips.
I saw some in Costco today, with the unfamiliar term Pomelo in big bold letters.
It made me think of you, Lola.
It’s been over a decade and nearly two
since the last time I’ve had some suha.
And although this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen it at an American supermarket
It was the first time I was compelled to buy it.
I thought about your hands
and the delicate way they peeled
through the thick skin,
The fluffy white rind
of the suha,
Matching the cotton-candy like texture
of your light grey hair.
I ran a finger down the length of the rind
and they were soft
like your curls.
I cut into the pink flesh and they matched perfectly
the color of your rosy cheeks
on a humid day.
I remember how you would sit at the table
for what seemed like hours,
peeling one suha after another,
humming Bible hymns to pass the time,
until you had a mountain
of perfectly shaped little pink wedges.
So I did the same, Lola,
and I thought about you the whole time.
I wondered how many pomelos you’ve peeled
in the 95 years of your life?
I wondered if you dream about their sweet tartness,
or miss the feel of its smooth peel,
or remember the name of the shade of rouge
that matches perfectly, the color of the fruit?
I sprinkled salt on the side,
dipped each piece into the white mound,
and as each wave of delight filled
every taste bud in my mouth,
I remembered why suha
was my favorite fruit.
It has always been because it reminded me of you.