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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


Yesterday afternoon when I cut open an avocado, I cut right through the pit, exposing its contents. This pit was not healthy, although the flesh of the fruit was just right for eating, and it contrasted with the sturdy brown nut-like seeds I’m used to seeing. I researched avocado and found the following—which, upon further thought, led to this haibun:

When the Aztecs discovered the avocado in 500 BC, they named it āhuacatl, which translates to "testicle." It is likely that the texture, shape, and size of the fruit, as well as the way it grows in pairs, inspired the name of the avocado. . . . Another common name for avocado is “alligator pear” because of its rough skin, and because it is a fruit. Other names for the pit are “stone” or “seed.”

Pitting the Alligator Pear

First, select the softest avocado, not one so mushy you know its flesh will be brown inside, but one that yields to gentle pressure.

another how-to site

with a short video—true

or false?

Wash to prevent bacteria from transferring and carve all the way around through the leathery rind. Twist to separate the two halves, leaving the whole pit in to better preserve the half you won’t be using. Then peel, slice, and enjoy.

a perfect peach—

ripe enough to just pull off

the rosy skin

However, if the pit easily splits as you slice, revealing its furry dark edges, its hollowed-out center, perhaps it’s on its way to rot. If so, when you cut around each half-pit to pry it out, be careful not to cut yourself.

Seeds hide secrets we usually can’t see, some holding promises of growth, others of decay.

if you see something

say something—may we all

see clearly

© 2020 Penny Harter

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