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Plastic red basket-ridden,
They peep from holes
In the tattered red cloth.

My aunt brought us litchis today,
A taste of Zanzibar
Under a boatful of spices.

I steal a glance when no one's looking,
Pick a fruit that no one wants.

I hold it in my hand, marveling.

So small, it fits in my fist.
Pinkish-reddish tinged,
And the tangles that tickle
Hiding the sweet white inside.

A ten-year-old memory of Bangkok;
A semblance of a sea urchin;
The wild hair of a rock star;
The image of what's growing within.

I offer one to her sleeping face,
Watching her breath rise.
Her life measured in the beep-beep-
Beep and hiss of too many machines.

She's grown too small,
Too weak, too tired, too sick.

Could I be a miracle-worker?
Unwrap the deadly tentacles from her,
Force the cancer back,
Back, back, until no trace remained?
Could I leave her whole and unscarred,
Delicate as the fruit I hold?

Or will I leave her to die,
To be interred and trodden on
Underfoot, like my heel
On white pulp?



© Marziya Mohammedali, 2001-2013