Abecedarian Yellow by Dan Vera

A is for apple.
B is for banana – treasure fruit of the tropics
which replaced the apple on the breakfast table of Victorian America.
C is for Carmen Miranda smiling
from the label of the bunch of bananas.
D is for drugs to disrupt nature’s cycle,
for longevity to cut and ship and freight by steamship
a green banana to the market and your table.
E is for ethylene gas, which is what the drugs suppress in fruit,
for longevity to cut and ship and freight by steamship
a green banana to the market and your table.
F is for fruit, obviously.
G is for Guatemala.
H is for Honduras,
or H could be for O. Henry who gave them a name:
“banana republics” — governments ruled by giant fruit companies
like Dole and United Fruit through American intervention. Yes,
I is for intervention. Are you still with me?
J is for junta, with an h-like j from the Spanish,
as in “military junta” set up by intervention to sustain control
and ensure cheap labor in countries like Honduras and Guatemala
so that bananas can get to your table cheaper
than an apple which grows in your yard.
K is for kitchen — your kitchen,
where history and blood commingle each morning
in the green curve of an
L-shaped fruit from countries with
Monoculture agriculture, which is nuts.
N is for nuts, because we’ve been through this before,
Over and over again.
P is for “Panama disease,” which wiped out
the last variety of shippable banana in the 1950s
and may soon wipe out our current one.
¿Que? ¿Que?
R is for ripe.
S is for surprise!
T is for trouble–
Undeniable trouble.
V is for Victoria–Queen Victoria who died in 1901–
we’ve been at this that long with bananas.
W is for wrapping up,
X is for eXtinction of a species of yellow fruit
or berry, depending on your view.
Y is for yellow and
Z is for zed
which signifies end.

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