When I was young
my Nana used to tell me 
not to eat 
the pomegranates in the backyard.

I remember that even then,
I knew,
it was because of the dozens
of tiny 
	white 
		t-shirts
dancing on the clothes lines
with reddish purple stains
around the collar.

Still
I just couldn’t help my grubby little paws
from reaching up
into the cool shade 
of its branches.

It was the only thing in the backyard
that always 
dazzled its greens in the desert sun.
The rest of the earth gave way 
to tiny sea shells,
left over 
from the mighty Colorado.

However,
the most rewarding thing of all,
despite the cool canopy
	of its luscious 
		leaves;
the moist rich grass
	curling 
                      around its roots;
the living 
	breathing 
		bark of the trunk;
was the delicious, 
seemingly rare
and delicate fruit it bore.

Some people
simply do not know 
how to eat a pomegranate.
They try to cut it 
		with a knife
or dig it out 
		with a spoon,
but the real hunters and gatherers know 
that the best way
is to simply take its armor 
between your teeth
and bite down
until a
	w  h  o  l  e
army 
of translucent seeds
are exposed.

This is why
my face was always sticky
and my shirt collar 
always stained.
This is why 
a whole ballroom
of flimsy t-shirts 
danced
in the desert sun.

I knew this even when I was young.

Alex Bakhsh’s personal essay “Owls” won first prize in 2015 in the Third Annual SVA Writing Program Contest. She is a sophomore majoring in Illustration.