Read Poetry: Desert’s Watermelon, by Kate Rauner

 Wild in the deserts​
Of Egypt and Sudan,​
Grows hard and bitter fruit​
Called gurma in the land.
Harvested and hoarded​
Somewhere in the shade,​
It holds a fount of water​
In green flesh that it made.
Water for dry seasons,​
Water kept in storage,​
Water for a Pharaoh’s Ba​
On his celestial voyage.
The fibrous fruit was pounded,​
So water bound would flow.​
A gift to desert dwellers​
Five millennia ago.
From one gene only dominant​
That bitter taste was made,​
So if recessive flowers met​
The bitterness would fade.
Melons bearing yellow flesh,​
By the Common Era’s time,​
Rabbis classed with grapes and figs​
As sweet within the rind.
The gene for sugar links with red,​
Though DNA was not yet spelled,​
Medieval farmers bred​
A fruit fit for angels.
Ruby slabs of watermelon​
Decorate my table,​
While in the wild deserts​
Its ancestral stock is stable.
Civilization could collapse,​
There could be Armageddon.​
But in five thousand years,​
Survivors could​
-Again -​
Have watermelon
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