Ode (Ending with a Confession) to the First Mango I Ate on Guam After Decades Away

Mango. Photo by Jin Choi/Flickr.

All the mangoes I’ve tasted
in California were imported and 
lost their true flavors in transit. 
And, even though all the mangoes 
I’ve enjoyed in Hawai’i were home
grown and ripened by island 
sun, they often act too glamorous, 
with their own annual festival
at a five-star hotel, where local chefs 
and mixologists dress them 
in fancy pupus and cocktails. 
But you, my love, are modest. 
My godfather picked you from 
his farm, and my godmother placed 
you on a plate for my breakfast. 
I’m alone this humid morning, 
so I fondle your skin, supple 
and cool in the air-conditioned 
dining room. I slowly undress 
you, nibbling your tropical flesh 
until I reach the spot where all 
your fibers tremble. When I look 
up, I notice a large statue of 
the Virgin Mary, staring at me, 
my fingers, lips, teeth, and tongue 
sticky with the juice of our sin.

Craig Santos Perez is an indigenous Chamorro poet from the Pacific island of Guam. He is the author of four collections of poetry and the co-editor of five anthologies. He is an associate professor in the English department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa. WLT nominated his poem in the New Native Writing issue (May 2017) for a Pushcart Prize.