Hava, I love every variation of what they call you, but
I use your Farsi name for the purposes of this letter, Hava,
before my teeth came in, my mother held a pomegranate
to my mouth, to rub my tender gums to comfort against
thick bitter skin, she taught me that some foods relieve you
better than milk, Hava, she must have learned this from the land
of its origin, in Iran today and always before they are worshipped,
entire festivals dedicated to them, they guard our tables
like scarlet suns on the longest night of the year, Hava,
I have seen them growing on trees and backyard shrubs,
sketch either side of long roads and highways, in holy awe
each time, like every sighting was a hallowed space, or
a soundless call that a prayer must be offered, and it isn’t just us,
Hava, Queen Hatshepsut’s butler was buried with one, whole
and uncovered in three millennia, Bronze Age findings,
cuneiform records, in Mary’s hands in Renaissance paintings—
its bulbous orb and pronged crown, a godly token, Hava,
in so many lands a symbol of something, prosperity, abundance,
fertility of course; that fall, Hava, when the illness evolved,
boxes full of them arrived to the door I kept closed, and
all I could do that season, Hava, was take one and cleave its tiara,
knife its center halfway before I split the rest with my hands,
exhaling with the sound of its perfect rip, so wet and generous,
I swayed back and forth on the floor as I removed in meditation
the arils from its yellowed membrane, like a vacant carton of eggs,
the impression of what was taken remained; I could not eat
during the sickness, Hava, but I could press each purple pill
with my tongue better than twenty milligrams, and at no other time
was each breath more measured than between spoonfuls;
sometimes I would deseed for hours until a dripping ruby
mountain towered in the salad bowl, and then ladle the sour pearls
with my palms, Hava, what is it about pomegranate that is so curative,
maybe there is an antidotal joy in breaking a fruit and not expelling
its seeds for waste, maybe there is praise for breaking a fruit and
letting it bleed its juice across your wrists, Hava, in scriptures
they are always mentioned, proof that there is god; from heaven
to my New York kitchen, they spill and stain beautifully my arms
dug deep into its grains; you must have panicked, distraught
when exile was decreed, but Hava, Hawwah, Eve:
you still managed to slip one, bring it with you, like you knew
the women to come would need something to sink their teeth
into when a man turns them in, and this time,
god knew to look the other way and forgive the sin