it’s the mangoes

If  you are like me, you get tempted by the mangoes at the store.  There they are, piled high on a cart, delicious-looking in their mango color of green tinged with red and yellow.  You give it a sniff, and decide you have a cold, because there is no fragrance.  You buy it.  Now, if you were still living with your mom or in India, you’d bury it in a bin of rice to ripen.  Being as you’re not, you opt for a shelf, and finally one day, you decide to cut it open.

The color’s right, the taste isn’t.  Not luscious, not melt-in-you-mouth, not sweet.  What you do is add a sprinkling of kosher or sea salt.  Now you can enjoy.  So, even though honest fruit is months away, remember:  balsamic on strawberries, salt on so-so mangoes.

Without permission, from a poem by Victor Hernandez Cruz from Red Beans (Coffee House Press, 1991):


A campesino looked at the air

And told me:

With hurricanes it’s not the wind

or the noise or the water

I’ll tell you what he said:

it’s the mangoes, avocados

Green plantains and bananas

flying into town like projectiles…

the rest of the poem can be found on:

1 thought on “it’s the mangoes

  1. Gail Storey

    I love this poem, especially in the context of your charming mango story. I’ve caught up on all your recent posts today, each a gem of your lovely sensibility. Thank you!



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