Breadfruit by Peter Larsen
Never eaten, touched, smelt or even seen a Breadfruit
or maybe I’ve seen them many times at the fruiters
but how would I know? I climbed into the huge green brain
of a Totara that stood on the mown, roundabout island
where I grew up, which has nothing to do with Breadfruit.
Living there I heard our dish-scrubber was made from the tangled,
dry husk core of a Breadfruit.
Our new Taiwanese (were they Taiwanese?) neighbor’s daughter
played the violin under the willow
and they bought their son a dog named Lion. Strangest thing
to see them on an autumn morning, as a family,
picking up dead leaves and putting them in a cardboard box
with an unfathomable solemnity. I don’t know
what they did with the dog, but one day
their son was howling and Lion was gone.
The girl came up to me asked
“Why are all the trees dying”, which I did not comprehend
till she pointed to the falling leaves. I suppose they
came from a tropical, urban place and knew nothing
of the reality of Autumn? I explained autumn best I could.
She was bewildered then they all came over
with foods we’d never tasted. When we began washing
the dishes the neighbourly wife looked on in mock horror,
ran home and gifted us her scrubber. It cut through
all the crap and didn’t scratch the Teflon. I think she said
it was made from Breadfruit.