Poetry by Sophia Mautz
In an iris of the night,
waxy white light hums
brokenly over a hard metal sink.
Four girls are awoken by Beijing heat.
With crescent moons purple under their sleepy eyes,
they tiptoe clumsily into a modest kitchen,
stealing four large mangoes
from an ice bucket.
They are unsure how to peel them;
that duty had always been left to their mothers.
But now, isolated in dusk
with the cool fruit tempting them,
they use their fingers.
Blue nail polish chips
as they recklessly peel the mangoes,
unable to wait any longer
to taste the soft, flame-colored flesh.
Finally they lean
over a grandfather’s wide cooking sink,
each holding a juicy, freshly peeled, misshapen,
In quiet suctions they rip
the flesh from its forgiving pit,
craning their necks like swans
towards fat elbows
to taste the dew trickling down,
too sweet and too crisp to fathom.
Liquid yellow moon outside,
are you watching over them?
One day these girls will venture into the dappled world –
will the mangoes then be as sweet
Four girls in the humid night
to the sweetness of the mango
moon hanging in the