The mess at home is all pomegranate. Ruby everywhere.
In a hurry, I had torn through the skin with my thumbs, pulled the fruit apart with my hands until I could finally reach the seeds. I thought about how this is the first time they had ever seen light, and that this violent moment was what a millennia of evolution had meant for them.
That was yesterday.
I start to pick up the pomegranate seeds. The ones that fell among the dishes.
Don’t you think about Persephone when you think about a pomegranate? (Don’t you love that the two parts you remember most about the story are linked by sound? Per-seph-o-ne, Pom-e-gran-ate. Same number of syllables, same distinct opening sound.)
I wonder about the number three, which is the number of seeds she is said to have consumed while in the underworld. Why three? It shows a lust doesn’t it? Imagine if Eve had tasted three apples when the one was damning enough.
I look at a pomegranate seed. Dull now, oxidized from being left out. Still such a deep red it almost turns to purple. But it’s so small; it’s barely more than a taste, more like a flavor on the tongue.
Did she open the pomegranate herself? Use her thumbs like I had resourced to, not bothering with knife? How could she, in her hunger, have moved her hands through such red, and not started to swallow fistfuls?
Or maybe someone gave the three seeds to her? Maybe Hades himself, comfortable—as the story makes clear—with breaking things.
I drop the seeds in the trash can. They make quiet tapping sounds as they fall.
Is it wasteful to use food for nothing but its color?
I had opened up the pomegranates in the first place for the deep red, and dropped the sparkling contents onto a bed of mango and blueberries and lime. I aim to impress at parties, but even I have to admit that pomegranate seeds are tricky to pick at with a fork.
Still, the red looked regal, separated from the skins that now looked empty and yellow—like jawbones without teeth. I didn’t mind setting the seeds like jewels on a crown, discarding the earthy, homely parts that were left behind. I didn’t even mind the seeds that fell wasted to the side. I was only after beauty.
And pomegranates, I believe, have a beauty as sensual as scarlet, and as toothsome as wine. They taste as sung notes sound, and for this reason, I am sure, God ordained that the robes of his priests be hemmed with bells and pomegranates, bells and pomegranates.
I clear up the last of the dark, sensual, sweet, and holy mess, and my mind is filled with nothing more than the joy of pomegranates.
Meg Schmidt (’16) graduated after studying writing and art history. Her interests include attempting to cook paleo, reading through McBrien’s Lives of the Popes, and landing the wittiest joke in a conversation. She currently works with Eerdmans Publishing as a Graphic and Production assistant.