Filling the Pomegranate Seed by Terry Trowbridge

Peel a garnet stone so thinly

that the skin is a pliable little pouch.

Bleed a fish that swims through Phlegethon.

Mix a drop with attar of unopened rosebud.

Inject the infusion droplet into the pouch.

Surround the pouch with ultrasound imaging wands

from the office of an illicit obstetrician.

Direct all the beams to create an interference pattern

wherein no molecules move at the pouch’s center.

There, where time ceases, will be a frozen seed.

Each seed made this way is unique.

Place the seed inside of a multitude.

Their number is finite but also incomprehensible.

Each pouch will flatten its sides

so that each seed takes a shape opposite of itself:

the pressurized facets of the surrounding crowd.

Each one becomes a coordinate in a galactic orb.

Inside, find a floral zodiac. Chart the vertices where gems meet.

The pomegranate’s persistent calyx

will then be prepared to open,

the pupil of Kingdom Plantae’s eye.


Terry Trowbridge’s poems have appeared in The New Quarterly, Carousel, subTerrain, paperplates, The Dalhousie Review, untethered, Quail Bell, The Nashwaak Review, Orbis, Snakeskin Poetry, Literary Yard, M58, CV2, Brittle Star, Bombfire, American Mathematical Monthly, The Academy of Heart and Mind, Canadian Woman Studies, The Mathematical Intelligencer, The Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, The Beatnik Cowboy, Borderless, Literary Veganism, and more. His lit crit has appeared in Ariel, British Columbia Review, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Episteme, Studies in Social Justice, Rampike, and The /t3mz/ Review. Terry is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for his first writing grant, and their support of so many other writers during the polycrisis.

Author's note

In my writing experience, fruits and vegetables are fertile resources for poetry. Details of fruit’s anatomy, life cycle, or historical significance, are always present in our homes, our workplaces, our stories. Poets are non-experts, but an expert with a certain kind of toolkit can see that edible plants are part of the social; and that any picture, video, sound, or text that omits them, omits them by an artificial choice. Fruit and vegetables are literary conceits used by every mythology (although here Classical myths and Modernist science are most visible). “Filling the Pomegranate Seed” contains several mythological allusions that highlight the pomegranate’s presence. At the same time, the growth of the pomegranate can be examined for ways of seeing contemporary political problems. I am not sure of this poem’s future context. It might become part of a chapbook about pomegranates, or it might become part of a chapbook about garnets. Currently, I am working on both.