This Is How You Eat A Mango

Leigh Camacho Rourks

Doesn’t matter how neat you carve the flesh from skin and that fat, flat seed heart—pretty squares scattered in salmon bowls or oatmeal or just like that, little carved Instagram geometries scooped with spoon or plucked with dry, clean fingers—that is not eating. The sweet is leaning deep over the sink, your mouth pulling at that seed, teeth working through the string of fiber, chin wet. This is how you eat a mango: you say “aye,” and you wipe your mouth with sticky oranged hand back, teeth pulling at your own lip where the nectar is, and you close your eyes. You have to remember being a child or it is not eating. If you are not hunched, if you are not a little embarrassed to get caught, if you do not make a noise, a wet, pig noise, you are not eating a mango. If you do not say, “poquito mas,” looking at that sun seed like your grandmother is still alive and you are not ready for her to wash your face, scrubbing with a hard threaded rag because the sticky sweet stays without work, it is not a mango. It is not eating if you cannot smell tart on your skin even after warm water, if you do not think at least once that next time it would be easier to just start in the shower or dip under a hose. If you do not want, do not long, do not ache to swim, put your feet in hot hot sand, caw at a seagull—if you are not wild after, it was not a mango.

Leigh Camacho Rourks is a Cuban-American author from South Louisiana, who is an Assistant Professor at Beacon College in Central Florida. She won the St. Lawrence Book Award for her debut story collection, Moon Trees and Other Orphans. She is also the recipient of the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award and the Robert Watson Literary Review Prize, and her work has been shortlisted for several other awards. Her fiction, poems, and essays have appeared in a number of journals, including RHINO Poetry, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, and Greensboro Review.

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