holes in the earth (rewrite)

Cambodia swallowed him like a pill
washed him down with ocean water –
mixed with sticky Khmer noodles,
Amok and curried vegetables hot
as equator sun – settled in the country’s
great belly, and some days still
it was hard to stomach him.

two months in the jungle country
in a one room apartment
with a woman, skin like split lychee
he peels fruit with his hands and
next day she is back for more.

six months of stripped fruit flesh and
she tells him, you fed me so much mango
i am growing one inside me.
his knees buckle beneath palm wine,
he climbs out of his skin
to bear the summer heat.

they drink cool broth from yesterday’s
noodle soup, lick salt from upper lips.
papaya skins the size of a baby
pile up in the sink.


(Day 13)

teach me to peel mango with my hands.
do you pull the skin from freshly pitted flesh
like you’d part a girl’s knees?
do you dig your fingers into the meat
like you’d make crescents in her cheeks
if she got too loud? do you squeeze
the fruit soft ’til splitting,
the way you tug and squish every soft part of her
until she, too, splits? you are left
with mush mangled in your palm.
do you know how to suck at the fibrous insides
pulling fruit from pit, girl from woman?
do you know where to leave the seed
when you have eaten everything else?