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Pomegranate
Julia Friedman (bio)

Beneath the leathery crown are clusters

like caviar nestled in crevices

of coral reefs. Break the body open

in water and its seeds will separate

from inner layers of snake skins and sink

unashamed. The Greek underworld confined

Persephone once the fruit stained her lips

with rouge, and her mother’s fields of bright pink

crocuses, irises and hyacinths

ceased to bloom over earth. Middle Eastern

mothers clung like shadows, painting unfurled

branches of crisp, uncut pomegranates

curving a border around their daughters

marriage ketubahs. The fruit must be whole

for its blessing to retain any juice.

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