"Self-Portrait as Mango" by Tarfia Faizullah

March 9, 2018
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 margins 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 scythe that beheads soldiers, mango
that taunts and suns itself into a hard-palmed fist only a few months
per year, fattens while blood stains green ponds. Why use a mango
to beat her perplexed? Why not a coconut? 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.