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RIPENING by Sara Curtis
 

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  • Let yourself ripen in front of others. Be disgusting. Become unrecognizable, spotty, bumpy, tender. Blush; get all hot and heart racy. We are alive after all and we should let the dead know it. Teeter on the edge of foul, be indulgent in your expression. You will find the sweetness there. Perhaps, you will be digested too quickly, but you will give them a brilliant rush. Honest offerings are the most delicious nectar.
  • Little tomato, there are bruises welling up under your skin, like mini black bull’s-eyes right near the heart from where you were plucked. Little black bull’s-eyes attract attention of the fruit flies that hover, dipping their mouths around the shiny bits, they are hungering for the sugars that pulsate behind your ever thinning skin. Fruit flies fluttering their little wings around like lonely people ravenous for some kind of intimacy, like curious people eavesdropping on strangers (who are equally searching for intimacy).
  • Punctured tomato flesh, relaxed shapeless orb, juicy exhale, relief on an old wooden cutting board. Tomato seeds are drying in their jelly, the knife blade is speckled with guts. Smear a piece of cheese on the edge; the acid is balanced. Exposed and allowed its full ripening, the tomato is vulnerable, textured, concentrated.
  • I like watching you shift color and weep a little from an unusually warm day. I want to witness transformation. I want the air to get a little sour with your perfume. I want to remember where you came from. I will be on the look out for mold and try and make sure the plantains or the ginger or the peaches don't crush you, before you get a chance to show off.
  • If I stored you in the refrigerator, I would deny you your ability to get loose naturally. I would sterilize you and force your ripening to be partitioned off to a mealy making florescent corridor. Tomato, like body parts exposed to air conditioning, forced to produce some internalized relief-less sweat. Detached from nature, you become pale and restrained, limp and odorous, perfumed by half open condiments and poorly wrapped cheeses. You are no longer a declaration of yourself, an extension of the earth; you are drained, lifeless, and forgettable.
  • Over there, I see piles of balled up receipts, scraps of white paper with indecipherable waitress scratch, hollowed out chapsticks, an oddly shaped safety pin, a purple bra draped over a white wooden chair, with red wine stains on the peeling paint. I see towels half mushed onto a bottom shelf, half pooled into a wrinkly heap on the bathroom floor. I see a multicolored rhinoceros drawing, from a boy named Evan, who was visiting San Francisco from New York City, and wanted me to remember him. I see driftwood and power cords, cards from old friends, and quotes that meant something to me at some point, but maybe not now. In the last moment, that was all okay, and in this moment, I am trying to make sense out of this strange arrangement of past choices, trying to disassemble, reorganize, give away, remember, and let go.
  • You are looking into the eyes of men you could’ve made a different life with. Imagining how differently you would smell together, how differently you would eat together, move through the world together. You are looking into the eyes of the man you are choosing to live your life with. You’ve grown up together, into different bodies together. You are curing and aging and unraveling into something better, together.
  • What’s the point of letting dreams hang out in your head until they cease to be dreamy anymore? I mustn't be so frightened of the ripening. Unattended and under nurtured dreams will rot. Many of my dreams have gone back to seed, because I didn’t harvest them in time. Maybe they'll sprout again when I'm ready. This ripening is really just beginning.
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