The Kiwi: By Deepa Desai


I held the luscious kiwi in my hand,
as if I held an emerald,
a glorious gemstone —
a gift handed by the great Khans
in ancient China.

I like to call it by its many names:
actinidia arguta or tara vine,
zespr, yangtao or gooseberry
like the Chinese.

The tiny brown and golden ochre colored bristles
give the kiwi a distinct earthy look
from a glance.
Upon looking deeper,
beyond the greenish umber thatch
of bristle & peach-like fuzz,
beyond the hardy oval-shaped exterior
of the egg-like fruit,
beyond the rough, rugged skin
of the treasured gem
are non-kiwi elements too:
sunshine, rain, soil,
compost, air, and time.

Looking deeply,
a slight indent of the hairy skin;
a small patch
to the side of the kiwi

On one side, the kiwi has already begun
to decompose. On the other, the kiwi is ripe,
& resilient to every pull,
every stretch,
every indentation.
In the words of Thich Nhat Hahn
Both sides “inter-are.”

Measuring only 1 1/14 inches long
with 3/4 diameter,
the kiwi looks insignificant in size.
But its real beauty lies hidden
underneath the furry thatch,
underneath the mysterious disguise,
underneath the crowning of glory.

I take a sharp paring knife to slice off the top,
slowly peeling the ends and sides one at a time.
A delicate scissure reveals brilliant green flesh,
the color of lime green,
a beautiful green, the color of coriander,
the color of fresh mint.
On the surface, a colorless crystalline substance
coating the slick, velvet, malleable
hairless green flesh.

Digging deeper, a golden center
ringed by dark tiny purple seeds,
aligned in a row, all surrounding
an almond white core.

With a spoon, the fragrant innards are scooped,
eaten raw, like any citrus-flavored melon
first a sour, pungent, bitter taste,
then tangy, acidic and mouth-watering.
Allowing the lush whole melt into the mouth,
the tart candy, like compost,
transforms into delicacy.

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