—"Avocado" comes from the Nahuatl word "ahuacatl,"
Alligator skin, silhouette of pear
you are fruit, yet not.
More likely cousin
to croc and chameleon,
or disguised as California's Legless Lizard
in a glide through sand,
for antiquated pelvic bones.
Though green you remind one
of mother's milk—
with one fat seed waxing,
like the apex of the New World,
some imagine the ovary just so:
When first he held you
for his mother and yearned
for his wife.
Among fruit you are the Spanish Fly.
How many sniff your bulb,
when skin has mellowed
from cucumber-green to climax-
purple, nostrils up
against the musk,
and peel skin with a fingernail
to reach salt-and-butter flesh,
then split you open
and lick the pit until it gives and rolls
onto a palm.
Oh, how little forked tongues
flicker all along your gouge.
Tell us, tell us—
Are you silky frog or warty toad?
Born of a yolkless egg, laid by a cock
and hatched by a mole?
Ahuacatl, what are you?
*Originally published in Southwestern American Literature