Mexican grapefruit is sweet, as if the bitter has been bred from it. Farmers, in search of a honeyed relief from the southern sun, must have spit the good seeds to the ground they plowed. The peel is so thick that you can chew it, like a dull lemon gum. Fingernails dig through an inch of pith before nicks in the undersurface begin to yield juice beads.
Some neighborhoods employ a kind of communal sound system, bullhorn-style speakers arranged atop a telephone pole, a strange flower blooming with tinny trumpet music. Night comes on at full volume; the controller eventually tapers it down, or the ear becomes accustomed to the noise. Maybe there’s comfort in knowing that everyone in the immediate vicinity is falling asleep to the same tones.
PHOTOGRAPH: A quorum of village elders—farmers first—convenes in a thatched roof building. Light leaks in like a sieve; thin strips of sun and shadow alternate across their faces. The council table is lined with glass soda bottles instead of nameplates, all in various stages of consumption. Everyone has a favorite flavor, determined by the atoms of their thought and flesh. With three drinkers, orange seems to be the most popular, two men favor pineapple, and two more drink lemon lime. One man likes apple.
At midnight warm breezes carry hints of wood fire, hyacinth, and the last of the day’s cooking. Then, six, maybe seven or eight streets over, a series of sickening yelps.
A. Scott Britton is a writer, translator, and linguist. His writing has appeared in numerous international literary journals. Britton is the translator of The Experimental Poetry of José Juan Tablada: Un día, Li-Po y otros poemas, and El jarro de flores, recently published by McFarland Books. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and can be found on Twitter at @AScottBritton and his website www.ascottbritton.com