Alligator Pear

March: I hang a young avocado seed,
rounded bottom in water,
top pointed to air.

April: researched its name.
1915 California farmers, renamed
testicular “ahuacate” as “avocado.”

April-May: a straight white root
now pencil-long moved to a taller jar.
A very small shoot.

Early summer: garden goats’ beard
and spiderwort in full throat.
Tomato, cucumber seedlings planted.

June-July: shoot now three inches.
Seed planted in ten inches
of damp earth.

Garden phlox, coneflowers bloom.
Beets harvested.
Then avocado paused.

July: suddenly leaves on shoot –
two, five, more…
Is it ready for tea?

August: research species.
Leaves may be toxic,
also for my cats.

Years: may, may not
produce an avocado.



Poem by Lavinia Kumar

Lavinia Kumar has published 3 books (most recent, No Longer Silent: the Silk and Iron of Women Scientists, 2019) and 4 chapbooks (most recent, Beauty. Salon. Art., Desert Willow Press, 2019). Poems in/upcoming: River Heron Review, Hole in the Head Review, Decolonial Passage, Minerva Rising, Paterson Literary Review, Superpresent, & SurVision. Website: