Low Hanging Fruit (Suneeta Peres da Costa)

Verity La Discoursing Diaspora, Poetry

For MC

The meeting rooms are named for ancient clans —
Ettalong, Cammeraygal. I enter late and they’re
teleconferencing, talking about low-hanging fruit
and blue sky dreaming. I drift off, remembering
you on tiptoes, in your white sandals, greedy for
green mangoes we suddenly spotted on Johnston St.
Lust for the tangible, for tart abundance, how you
reached into the Antipodean azure, and when the KPI
proved elusive, cried with a tribal horror: ‘So many,
they’ll be wasted!’ Scanning the thicket of dark leaves
while I prayed they’d fall so we could hit the ground
— running before the owner caught us. Urban naxal,
your guerrilla tactics were smooth and in no time
you had outsourced a lanky stranger who, upon
your mellifluous request, pulled out her headphones
and put down her school bag, procuring with an
impossible ease from the tree — Mangifera Indica —
a fairly decent number. Chary, you offered her one —
she refused. Her mum wouldn’t know what to do
with it! What a pity you said, adding it immediately
to our stash and straightening your kurta… Mission
accomplished, we marched home, cutting past the
bleeding red gums and directly into the fruit, which
you mixed with red onion, green chilli, salt and cider
vinegar so that days after you’d gone I could savour
the last morsels marinating in the refrigerator.

 


Suneeta Peres da Costa lives in Sydney on Gadigal Country of the Eora Nation. She writes fiction, non-fiction, plays and poetry. Her recent book, Saudade (Giramondo, 2018; Transit Books USA & Canada, 2019), concerns the legacies of Portuguese colonialism and the Goan diaspora in pre-Independence Angola. Saudade was shortlisted for 2019 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Awards the 2020 Adelaide Festival award for Literature and was a finalist in the 2020 Tournament of Books (USA). Her previous novel was Homework (Bloomsbury, 1999). She has received awards, fellowships and residencies from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, Asialink Arts, The Copyright Agency, Varuna — The Writers’ House and, over the years, she has worked with the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the University of Technology of Sydney, the National Museum of Australia and Sydney Review of Books, among other organisations.