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Every New Year’s Eve,
my friend tells me
she smashes six
on her lawn,
and when I ask her why,
she says it is because
she is Greek, and
when I want to
understand more
of what she means,
I read up on pomegranates
in Greek mythology,
discovering that after
Persephone was abducted
by Hades and joined him in
the underworld,
her mother Demeter mourned by
drying the Earth in a long, cold winter,
until Zeus arranged for
Persephone’s return,
but because Persephone had
been tricked into
eating six pomegranate seeds,
she had to return to Hades
to spend every winter with him
in the darkness,
and I wonder if this
is why my friend breaks
pomegranates at
night on her lawn,
as if the more they break,
the more their seeds are spread,
and the more luck and fertility
there will be in the New Year,
which is not so different from
my own superstition about
my need to squeeze
my eyedropper
six times,
never four,
because my parents
say four is an unlucky
number, since the
word for four in
Sì, sounds
almost identical
to the word for death,
and the only difference is
the level of inflection
when pronounced,
and it seems strange
that the six seeds
Persephone ate would have been
so unlucky for her,
but without her misfortune,
there wouldn’t be new seasons
to wish for,
just as without the number
four, I couldn’t learn
to love the number six,
and maybe that is why
my friend and I aren’t
so different as we seem—
when she tells me about
the pomegranate
pulp in her yard,
tiny seeds clinging
to frozen blades
of grass in the
new January
cold I have come
to understand what she

Steam Sabrina Guo
Sabrina Guo, 13 Oyster Bay, NY