Hard as a fist, with a brain's ripe heft,
it waits, vivid as Christmas on the branch,
enticing birds to eat and scatter seed.
Hedge Apple, Osage Orange, green as sin,
its complex rind hints, barely, at its business,
the beehive hum of chlorophyll and sun.
It teeters on my desk, its perfume lush,
Ohio-bred but reeking of Tahiti.
The rough hide dips and softens at the navel.
If I dissected it, would I glimpse essence,
the fruit itself, or would I clutch at pulp,
at papery cellulose and squandered juice?
What is this urge to slit its bright skin open,
to spill its guts and understand its workings?
Torn from its stem, it has a wholeness still,
a pulse, diminishing, that dares my knife.
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