True and Valid

The man has pineapples and he’s got them for sale. He shows me a fine pineapple. The top is stiff and green. The sides are prickly and yellow-brown. The man is on the street corner selling pineapples and he puts one under my nose. Smell the ripeness he says to me. Smell the sun on the skin of this pineapple. Imagine this in a blue bowl. Imagine its nutritional value, he says, pursuing me down the sidewalk. $4.99, he says. This is a bargain, he says, his hair tangled and colored like the silken tassel of corncobs. This pineapple will change your life, he says. He puts the pineapple in my hands. I hold it against my will. Feel the sunniness. The prickle. See his blue eyes like bright violets looking into mine. Looking for confirmation. He needs to know from me what he says is true and valid. Has impact. I need to know I am worthy of this pineapple. I buy the pineapple. He turns his violet-bright eyes away, but their intensity remains with me that evening as I arrive home and put the pineapple in the bluest bowl I can find.

Fruit Vendor

AJ Atwater is a Minnesota/Manhattan abstract painter and literary fiction writer with work forthcoming in Jellyfish Review and published in Pank, Vestal Review, Proof Magazine and others. www.ajatwater.com