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Mango Peeling

by Derek Otsuji

Take a sharpened blade. Notch
clean beneath the stem then twist.
Keep the mango turning
against the blade, the pressure even.
But the knife slips, slices through
the unspiralling peel.
                           For an instant—no blood,
just a line drawn quick
across my thumb. I curse—
                                      a thin gully parts, flushes red.

How memory sometimes opens like this:
I was five when I watched a mango unspool
itself in your hands—the thick peel,
a brilliant coil of loosening ribbon:
green, red, gold.

I have never been able to repeat that trick:
to cut that flat, yellow-bellied snake from
a mango's autumn globe. This season is
no different, Grandpa.

I am still waiting to learn.