Props are used in

rituals and

jokes. Hers was a mango.

Each time she peeled us

one, she’d say the only messless

place to eat the fruit

was sitting naked in the bathtub.

Naked but we didn’t know it,

two peeled mangos bathing

in the park’s summer-heated

fountain. That day our clothes walked

off with some stranger, we got home okay,

but realized in the elevator,

too blushed to fight over the button up.

We shared the mango but fought

for the pit, who could shave the last

or most meat off

with their teeth. When we split sodas

the one who took the last

sip was accused of drinking the

whole thing.

I’m sorry, I thought I found a new way to sit shiva

but I can’t import the ritual

or the memories as fruit.

I’ve taken all our mangoes

& locked myself in the bathroom.

Don’t bother me,

I’m not proper

till I’ve finished them.

Be patient, I’m peeling

careful not to waste the fruit.

I’m sorry I’m not taking

visitors. I’m running

the tub with mango juice

thicker than water.

I need something

to cover up

my shoulders.

I’m ridiculous?

You forgot the story

of grandma’s favorite joke!

This ritual is about memory,

going back

over it and placing you

where you belong.