How to eat a mango:
pick one at the store that looks red and ripe but isn’t
take it home and let it sit for three days,
gathering dust up on the shelf
find it again, just after midnight
when the hunger sets in
ask friends and family for direction
try and internalize what you hear
rinse it off — not well,
but just enough that
your peculiar hygienic obsessions are quelled
lay aside your fear of what you don’t know
try and get an image from your childhood stuck in your head
out of your head and into the dustbin
take the mango and look for a paring knife
but finding none, choose a bread knife from the carving block
stale memories adhering to its sides
slice it lengthwise, cutting around the oblong pit
instead, slice directly into the pit and, finding no path,
turn it over and try again.
repeat until you end up with five attempts laid out before you
smell the unripe, sour smell of a mutilated skin
and a deep gash in your thumb that won’t stop bleeding
and floods into the fruit.
put the knife down (and away),
wrap your thumb in a paper towel affixed with duct tape.
pick out the crumbs from the folds in the skin
try and sort your humiliation out from your pride
as you take a deep breath and try again.
peel off the thick skin, taking small strips of flesh with it
attempt to chew off these tough veins
and receive a sour, tart unpleasantness on your tongue.
really do it this time, full-bore into the fruit
tear all the skin off and leave it on the counter
pick up your prize, unseemly and bleeding.
go at it like an animal, feel the ofttimes sour, sometimes sweet
taste flood onto your tongue.
appreciate the small things
like your mango failures
and don’t worry about
the way you look,
mango bits stuck in your beard
sticky juice drying quick onto your chin.
Remember the mango
and dream of further fruits.
‘Non, je ne regrette rien’