Eating Pomegranates In The Dark
A notebook entry.
“A man in a desert can hold absence in his cupped hands knowing it is something that feeds him more than water. There is a plant he knows of near El Taj, whose heart, if one cuts it out, is replaced with a fluid containing herbal goodness. Every morning one can drink the liquid the amount of a missing heart.” —Michael Ondaatje
I have been eating a pomegranate every day for the past two weeks. They are sweet and tart, and feel somehow appropriate now, as if we are all Persephone, getting ready for our sojourn in the underworld. It is pomegranate season, and cut-open pomegranates are displayed in all the fruit stands, arranged atop the massive piles of mottled red and gold. Every morning with my small knife I cut out the crown of the pomegranate and then score along its ridges before pulling the bloody pieces apart. The rind and pith go into one bowl and the seeds collect in another, pushed out of their formations where they hide in gleaming clusters behind the pomegranate’s internal architecture, like the chambers of a heart. There are membranes to peel back, and atria to excavate. The seeds make a satisfying sound when pried from the pith and deposited in the bowl. A rending, a rendering. Something bright at the dark day’s beginning. Every morning there is this short burst of familiar, meticulous work.
This entry was adapted from a five things draft written in December 2020.
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