Excerpt from The Language of Fruit by Cindy Lamothe


The following story appears in Tiferet’s Fall 2017 issue. The entire issue is available in print or digital format.

She sucked on the mango’s savory flesh, its small hairs brushing her tongue with each stroke. This mango was gold-red-green. Slightly bruised from hands prodding it back and forth in the market. Its tangy aroma a punch of air—a fiery flag waving back and forth. When a mango turns rancid, it doesn’t stay quiet, she thought. It protests violently within the space it occupies. A hundred feet away and you can smell anger turned from sugar. Rage that was once sweet. She always stopped by the fruit vendors to pay homage before going back home.

Her Nana once told her the story of a girl born on the busiest day of the market. When the mother’s water broke, liquid travelled down her thighs and knees, slathering the rotten fruit skins on the ground. The woman’s baby arrived on half eaten apples and tossed apricot seeds. Whenever her Nana told her this story, she took out a shiny plum from her coat pocket and offered it to her. “La fruta te habla,” she’d say. “The fruit has its own language…sometimes it can alert us to danger. Always listen, mija.

CINDY LAMOTHE is a Honduran-American writer living in Guatemala. Her writing has been published in The Atlantic, Guernica, New York Magazine, The Rumpus, Eastern Iowa Review, Fiction Southeast, Hunger Mountain, among many others. She is the recipient of a Pushcart nomination, and her poem “Mother Carcass,” is forthcoming in the anthology WAVES: A Confluence of Women’s Voices (A Room of Her Own Foundation). She is currently at work on a series of short stories, poems, and essays. Find her at www.cindylamothe.com.

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