The Banana Peelers

by C. Dylan Bassett

See how they work under the scrape of silence.

See their hands—
strung with slits and subtle cuts across the fingertips.

See how they unstitch
with motherly touch the half-rotten husks
without snapping the core.

See how they crush the moon-curved fruit
into an iron-purple vat.

See how well the body is removed from its skin,
nothing eaten, nothing lost.

See the devotion of movement, the labor of arms
hauling heap over heavy heap.

Soon, they’ll mix buttermilk with eggs, flour.
Add heavy cups of sugar, some heat.

To make this bread you must learn to shift
weight from one foot to another.

But to eat this bread you must not think
of swollen limbs or the length of days,

and you must never think of mouths.

You would rather give the bread back
than think of their mouths.