The Women Who Cut Fruit – Jen Gaudette
Poised behind tables slick
with juice, feet together, elbows
bent, they raise butchers’ knives above watermelon,
rock the fruit open in swift, arcing swings,
exposing the sticky and pink flesh|
with their fingers. Wet seeps through their aprons,
marking their bellies with uneasy rings
of cool. There’s talk of bingo prizes, the Lotto,
what they’ll do with the money if or, somedays, when.
Muck finds the smallest crevice of skin.
In the Dumpster, tomatoes rotting.
In the sink, a spider from Costa Rica drowns,
his fat brown body spiraling the drain.
When they pick berries out of cardboard crates,
the women straddle a river of waste – gone-bad produce
reduced to a dark liquid. They nest berries
into pints, clip lids like sun hats.
Later, in the evening, seeds will show up,
tucked in an elbow or a pant leg,
where small things are easily forgotten.