Monday, July 30, 2012

Horse Chestnut

A large chocolate tumor.
An irregular hemisphere with bumps and concave wrinkles 
like a miniature bald head—a phrenologist's dream—
with one side of the hemisphere slightly less rounded. 
     Four-fifths of it covered with a paper-thin 
            reddish-brown rind, made shiny with 
the oil secreted from the indentation 
behind your nostrils where the nose meets the face. 
(You can grease up your forefinger by rubbing the spot 
        and then rubbing the nut, or you can just rub 
the nut in the spot, as I do.)

The final fifth, a cutaway of the shell on the lower portion 
of the flattened side—a slightly blackened, 
dullish brown surface that can't be shined—perhaps, 
    on some evolutionary 
scale, if one thinks of the nut as a brain, 
which it resembles, the area where the cerebellum, 
the medulla oblongata, and the beginning (or end) 
        of the spinal cord meet.
Called a horse chestnut because it was used somehow 
in the treatment of horses' ailments. Nowadays, 
it is useless, like so many other things. 
             Or, rather, a new use 
for it has yet to be found. (Except in this case.)
It grows on a tree and is enclosed in a spiny burr—
a porcupine golf ball that seems impregnable if it is not ready 
to open. Protection from what? Is nature so concerned 
          about an inedible nut?

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