So many times I've witnessed this
that familiarity is not the word
to conjure my mother's taking up of the breast-
shaped purple blackness, her paring
knife commencing from the areola,
strokes of peel stripping away into the sink
until the corpuscular fruit is nude
and ready to be sliced. In the colander
she tiers the rounds, salting each layer
to draw out the bitter water, and weights
them down with a piece of heart-
shaped iron with which her tailor father pressed.
They sit on the counter all day:
the eggplant with the heart pressing on them,
the water in the pan beneath
Author Joseph Bathanti is North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. He “acts as an ambassador of N.C. literature, using the office as a platform from which to promote N.C. writers and the potentially transformative qualities of poetry and the written word.” Bathanti shares this poem in honor of National Poetry Month. “Eggplant” was first published in Restoring Sacred Art, Star Cloud Press, 2010. You can view upcoming dates for Bathanti’s appearances read more of work on his blog.