Manchineel

I wouldn’t call the green
a poison green—
it’s several shades removed
from Mr. Yuck, and over that’s
a less-than-shiny sheen; the way
unpolished mangoes often look.
I waved away
the warning signs—
the clutched snakeskin
around a lower branch,
the fact that not one fallen apple
had been touched
by birds who should’ve called
the fruit their snack.

The taste surprised;
no bite like you’d expect
from Day-Glo colored treats.
Instead a spurt
of liquid that had ripened
to collect flavors surrounding it
—sunbeams, the surf—
and turn them into crème
brulée. My breath and lips
soon burned. I knew I’d savor death.

Traci O'Dea

Traci O'Dea

Traci O’Dea lives in the Channel Islands, UK. Her work has appeared in Poetry, 32Poems, Unsplendid, The Fiddlehead, A Room of One’s Own, and other literary journals as well as the anthology Where I See the Sun: Contemporary Poetry in the Virgin Islands.
Traci O'Dea

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Author: Traci O'Dea

Traci O’Dea lives in the Channel Islands, UK. Her work has appeared in Poetry, 32Poems, Unsplendid, The Fiddlehead, A Room of One’s Own, and other literary journals as well as the anthology Where I See the Sun: Contemporary Poetry in the Virgin Islands.