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):
PROBLEMS WITH HURRICANES
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: