when grandma breaks the halves the juice
spills over her fingers. soon enough the red

bleeds onto mine. we set to work picking
apart the flesh. some people use a wooden spoon,

but we take our time. why must love be
violence? ghosts shackle my hands in theirs as

red rubies drop into the dish. the men snatch
the seeds with abandon, greedily grappling

for treasure. they suckle the succor dry like lifeblood.
the last seed pops free, my hands as stained

as the empty plates. pomegranate carcass lies
pockmarked like a salt and pepper beard,

phantom sweetness lingering on the tongue i bite
back. my mangled hands fold the debris inside

a crisp paper towel, hidden beside the dog’s
bone, the peeled potatoes, my mother’s pride.

for months i find red splatters on my clothes.
as hard as we try, grandma has no secret for this stain.