when i was s child

you were never a dwarf

always grew to 98 feet

i was sure you were

god’s neighbor

and the men who climbed you

–a task i never achieved–

were angels swaying in the wind

to bring down your nuts

which i savored

rum and coconut water

was my father’s choice drink

i drank you straight from the hush

without a straw so that some of your juice

inevitably dribbled down my chin

onto my clothes tattooing me

a coconut drinker


the botanists say you

are not really a fruit

rather a drupe

with your three layers

exocarp mesocarp and endocarp

your coir was once stuffed

into mattresses and almost

every part of you during

ever phase of your life is used

my grandfather carried your

hard flesh around in his handkerchief

and chewed on you throughout the day

my mother would grate your dry nut

with your three eyes showing

and make her own cooking oil

on saturdays she baked

coconut drops — your hard meat

cut into small pieces, mixed with sugar and ginger

a favorite candy among many children

on sunday you would be grated and juiced

your milk sweetened our rice and peas

brian puts your medium jelly in his green salad

he sandwiches your dry oily flesh

with dried mango and banana into

a fruit sandwich


your childhood is brief

six to ten years

then you begin to propagate

producing as little as 30 and as many

as 75 children yearly for about  twenty years

clearly you don’t believe in birth control

and perhaps that is because you’re

monoecious and cross-pollinate

although the female flower is larger

they claim you appearance

was first introduced by sinbad the sailor

who in one thousand and one nights bought

and sold you suggesting you are

originally from Malayalam

but the controversy continues

between those who believe

you originated in the Americas

but no matter

we claim you in the Caribbean

nobody kyan tell we

yu nu one a we


coconut man is coming out

and everyday you can hear

him shout:

get your coconut water

it is good for your daughter

make you strong like a lion

gives you iron…”


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