The Perfect Fruit
BY ISABELLA ESCAMILLA
The poison just didn't take. —Anne Sexton, “Live” I’m growing a zoo of maggots in the basin of my roommate’s salad bowl from an apple given to me by a stranger in the library. I was once told that writing a stanza is to stand in a place. So, exist in this place with me. Watch this apple fall apart. Help me watch skin curl and bleed brown. Watch the babies seep from the apple’s pores and swim in its drippings. My mother keeps telling me that the only criteria for perfume is whatever doesn’t make you sick. I’m worried I want to smell like the candy-plastic of a Barbie left in her box too long, like a Christmas tree left on the side of the road in July, like Jackie O on Air Force One. When I called my abuelo last week to wish him a happy birthday, he replied what time is it there? I tell him I’m three hours ahead. It’s six-thirty. I wait for him to stop spitting bloody. Stop coughing into the paper napkin my tía folds into his palm each morning. Okay mija, hablamos when you come back. Maybe, I’m the perfect fruit from his American Dream. Maybe, I can forget that, in 1959, he was forced to watch his baby wither and die. Maybe, I can pretend that the baby didn’t die when all she needed was amoxicillin. Maybe, I’m not like Anne Sexton at all.