Product of Mexico
by Kierstin Bridger
{featured in Issue #8.5} 

“What were the secret rituals of women? I feel certain they must have been tied to birds.”
―Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge

 

I’m making sorbet from these overripe mangos.
I bought them, ten for ten dollars, a wealth of
tropical jewels. On the first day only two were ripe
and I ate them over the sink, scoring them with my paring knife
until I could flip the skin inside-out, savor every cube.

In my heady state I thought of how we used to know
the contents of our separate pantries, knew what was stockpiled,
could call anytime to borrow an egg. You don’t know I think of you,
that my mother gave me flowers for Mother’s day
some in full bloom, some just beginning to unfurl, hot pinks

like the bougainvillea along our holiday casita.
You don’t know anything about my days.
It’s been more than five years
since your remission, since we juiced limes,
cried over onions for the pico de gallo.

I think of us as I pass the gold fruit over the counter,
so soft, they’re twelve minutes from going south.
Their sweet smell mimics the lilies, but it’s darker.
Do you remember us in Zihuatenajo calling the children
in from the surf, taking photos of ourselves mirrored

in the each other’s sunglasses,
and the day it rained, you never got out of bed.
I stayed too, slunk over a book about migration.
Even now, the rise and fall of the Great Salt lake,
the birds, and nuclear fall-out,

intermingles with the memory
of our Pacific coast-salty skin,
the garlic-grilled fish, plates on our laps
feet buried in the sand, your bald head after chemo
topped with a sunhat fit for a star.

 

Kierstin Bridger is a Colorado writer. She is a winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, the 2015 ACC Writer’s Studio award and an Anne LaBastille Poetry residency. She is editor of Ridgway Alley Poems, Co-Director of Open Bard Poetry Series, and contributing writer for Telluride Inside Out. Find her poetry in or forthcoming from Hawaii Review, Botticelli Magazine, Thrush Poetry Journal, 3Elements, Blast Furnace, Tulane Review, Fugue, and several anthologies. She earned her MFA at Pacific University.