Opening Pomegranates


On a whim, we bought two pomegranates at the store this morning. When we got home, I started to carve open the pomegranates to remove the arils. Nora played in the dining room near me, while I sliced the first fruit open at the dinner table.

She quickly hopped on to the chair behind me, to see what I was I doing. I gave her the flat top piece and let her pick out the seeds with her fingers. She was in love with the taste immediately. “They’re crunchy and sweet. Crunchy and sweet,” she chanted.

I scored the skin at each section, then broke open the fruit in a bowl of water. While I shook out the arils, I decided to tell Nora the story of Persephone and the pomegranate seeds. I spoke and cleaned and everything felt like it fell into place. Nora listened quietly, as long as I slipped her more and more seeds to eat.

It’s the first time I thought about this story since becoming a mother, the first time I’ve told it to my daughter. Even though I’m the mother now, I still identify with Persephone, feel her powerlessness in the story. I tried to give Persephone enough credit in the story, as I told it to my daughter, since I want her to see herself as an agent of her own life.

After I was done with the story, and moved on to the second pomegranate, Nora said, “Sing it again, Mommy.” So, I sang the story again, with even more variation, and broke open the next fruit in the bowl of water.

Outside, the snow was falling, blanketing our backyard. We were warm enough inside.


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