How to Eat a Mango

I.
Do not eat candy or drink coffee beforehand,
as it will ruin the fruit’s sweetness.

II.
Choose a mango the color of Bolivia’s flag.
Wait. Wait until you feel the flesh beneath the skin
yield to your fingers. You will want it too early.

III.
Take a sharp knife and the smooth bamboo cutting board.
Scrub your hands clean.

IV.
Tilt the mango on its end, and slice straight down,
slightly off center. Marvel at the gold marrow within.
Cradle this delicately in your palm like a treasure.
Follow the curves when carving.

V.
Bite down, slowly, and notice the flavor of tangy sunshine.
Let the juice run sweet, let it pool in your hands.
Scrape the fruit from its peel with your incisors.

VI.
Do not think of chlorinated pesticides.

VII.
Do not think of a Jaliscan boy’s sweat falling.

VIII.
Do not think of crates upon crates,
of rats and flies and filthy hands.

IX.
Do not think of ships and smoke.

X.
Do not ruin the taste.

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