—"Avocado" stems from the Nahuatl word "ahuacatl," meaning "testicle"

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,

casting furrows

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

Columbus cried

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