"The Pomegranate One" by Kat Giordano
Every question I ask you is a pomegranate that splits open, spilling onto your carpet in dozens of tart little gems. Every time you pick one up to eat it, I stop you because I need you to enjoy the entire thing fully, which means not just eating the pomegranate but breaking open all of the little seeds, which are also pomegranates. Inside of those pomegranates are sometimes seeds and sometimes more pomegranates, but they look exactly the same and the only way to tell if you’re about to eat a seed or a pomegranate is to try and put one in your mouth and gauge my reaction. But you can’t just test them all to be safe, of course. Being wrong comes with the risk of being handed yet another pomegranate filled with – you guessed it – pomegranates.
So, we sit cross-legged on your floor while I watch you inspect each half-disassembled piece of fruit. It takes forever; nobody ever taught you to eat pomegranates this way. You’re paralyzed with fear. And I’m wondering if you fear fucking up or just having to eat another pomegranate, which is in and of itself another pomegranate. And then I worry because you’ve been doing this so long it’s starting to stain your skin and the floor. I wonder if you notice. That’s a pomegranate. I wonder whether you’ll get mad at me about the stains after you’re done, and if not, whether you will later: two pomegranates. I wonder if getting mad would be right or wrong: pomegranate. I know you used to like pomegranates before but I keep wondering if it’s possible for you to still be excited about them now. I keep this to myself. (You’re welcome.)
By now they’re starting to pile up in the corners of the room with no end in sight. You sigh and grip one in your shaking hands and you start to wonder if pomegranate seeds are even real or just a myth to get you to break open more pomegranates. But then you taste one, and everything makes sense for a minute. It’s sweet, with that tinge of bitterness you remember, rich and light and so complex and satisfying, you wonder how it could possibly
be good for you. Only one way to find out, so you open another. And now your living room looks like a produce section someone was murdered in, all red stains and bruised fruit. Now, they multiply before leaving my mouth as I wonder which are worth handing you and which are worth swallowing whole, and so on. I keep thinking that maybe there is something better I can do with these pomegranates, like make a jam or some kind of art project you can hang up and forget. But all I ever want to say is that I know I am like this, and that I don’t like pomegranates either, and that I don’t mean to keep coughing them up into my hand. I want that to be enough. But it’s another pomegranate to ask you if it is.