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Self-Portrait As Mango Tarfia Faizullah

Self-Portrait As Mango

Tarfia Faizullah

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She says, Your English is great! How long have you been in our country?

I say, Suck on a mango, bitch, since that’s all you think I eat anyway. Mangoes

are what margins1 like me know everything about, right? Doesn’t

a mango just win spelling bees and kiss white boys? Isn’t a mango

a placeholder in a poem folded with burkas? But this one,

the one I’m going to slice and serve down her throat, is a mango

that remembers jungles jagged with insects, the river’s darker thirst.

This mango was cut down by a scythe2 that beheads soldiers, mango

that taunts3 and suns itself into a hard-palmed fist only a few months

per year, fattens4 while blood stains green ponds. Why use a mango


 

to beat her perplexed5? Why not a coconut6? Because this “exotic” fruit

won’t be cracked open to reveal whiteness to you. This mango

isn’t alien just because of its gold-green bloodline. I know

I’m worth waiting for. I want to be kneaded for ripeness. Mango:

my own sunset-skinned heart waiting to be held and peeled, mango

I suck open with teeth. Tappai! This is the only way to eat a mango.


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