He Gave Her the Honey-Sweet Berry of the Pomegranate to Eat

By R.S. Wynn

August 24, 2020

He Gave Her the Honey-Sweet Berry of the Pomegranate to Eat

In the produce aisle, I consider genetically modified pomegranates: ruby globes that overflow my palms cupped together. But the one I choose to bring home I pluck with my thumb and forefinger. Pitted and tawny, my pomegranate looks like what it is: a seed pod, the product of successful plant sex. A treat for the birds, maybe.

At home, I set a steak knife into the leather husk of my pomegranate, carve a circle through spongy white flesh, all around the crown. It bleeds sweet. Online articles promise several smartest, fastest ways to deseed a pomegranate—with diligent scoring, with full water submersion, with a grapefruit spoon, with teeth—but really there is no ideal way to separate seeds from skin unless you happen to have a parrot’s beak.

I saw wedges down the side of my pomegranate, burst its hollow spine and plunge it into a bowl of water. My fingers are ill-suited tools—unspecialized—but I trouble the seeds until they detach and sink. One. Then two. Then three. The seeds are edible, healthy even, but bitter. The sugary, millimeter-thick sarcotesta is the treasure. The fruit’s husk, pulp, and skin float to the water’s surface; I skim and throw them away. Such waste. Such labor required to steal bird feed.

Even so, I never doubt Persephone traded half her life for pomegranate seeds. What animal escapes hunger easily? Who isn’t filled with craving emptiness and the appetite irascible? What a honey-sweet pleasure is difficulty.


R.S. Wynn lives in an antique farmhouse in Maine with her family and the perfect number of dogs (six, in case you were wondering). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in New South, Bacopa Literary Review, Sweet: a Literary Confection, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Photo by Ali Em courtesy of Unsplash

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