November 2001

Hallie Smith


Hallie Smith is in the Ph.D. program in English at the University of Virginia. Before moving to Charlottesville, she lived and worked in New York City and spent a year in Baltimore, where she held a poetry fellowship in the Writing Seminars at John Hopkins University.

You bought a mango
to please me.
We sat on a rock to eat it.
You sliced me pieces,
and I ate them.
You saved little
for yourself. Not

If I could, I'd change
the fruit,
but that was just itó
how the tongue feels
sliding between skin
and curved slices of flesh,
stripping out what it wants,
as if forcing itself
against another tongue.

The mango skin
was pleasantly tight.

You watched me
lick and consume
and discard what you'd cut.
You put a hand
on my arm,
finally. Why
didn't you lean in
a little further
instead of expecting
a compromise?

If you had only
made me taste
how the mango was to you,
sweet, chalky flesh
still scenting my mouth,
I would have let
you decide me,
for a moment.

As it was,
you gathered the green skin.
I held onto
the orange pit
to gnaw it
where it's soft and gives. 



Hallie Smith: Poetry
Copyright © 2001 The Cortland Review Issue 18The Cortland Review