Do I Dare to Eat a Peach?

No, because I’m allergic to them. Also related stone fruits—plums, cherries, nectarines.

I used to get mouth irritations, inflammation of the mucous membranes in my mouth. Doctors would prescribe antibiotics and ask about my sex life.

Then I figured something out. It happened only in the summer. To soothe my irritated mouth, I would eat cool, fresh fruit. Which made the condition worse.

I asked an allergist if I could be allergic to those fruits. He said yes, and in fact I could die if the tissues around my throat swelled sufficiently.

So I stay away from those nasty, delicious comestibles.

Even on skin, so I avoid the whole family and their relatives, including almond oil, which a yoga teacher once tried to soothe me with.


I once wrote more about this, in a piece called:



On the dermatologist’s table was I,

while she hunted for ravages of my being

a fair-skinned Caucasian. The dermatologist said,

“What’s this?” and pulled down the back

of my underwear. “Look at this,” she said

to her assistant. “We’ll prescribe something.”

To me she said, “You’ve got to be

more regular with your hygiene.”


Years later I asked an allergist

if the soreness in my mouth after eating

peaches, plums, and apricots could be

an allergy. Yes, he said, allergies

to that family of fruits are common and could be

dangerous. Then I realized the rash

I sometimes got on my scalp was from

the health-food store’s apricot shampoo.


And my habit in the shower is to use

the extra suds to lather up—well,

parts of my body. So that’s where that rash

must’ve come from! I’ve been accused

of writing poems about almost anything.

First of all, I couldn’t write

the dermatologist to say, “See?

It wasn’t my hygiene after all.”


As I write this instead, what do I suppose

the larger literary value, apart

from the personal utility? It’s not that I think

my behind is so interesting—well, in fact

I do, but how about the theme of appearance

vs. reality or the shame of false

accusation? Literature reveals the secrets

hidden beneath our clothing.

 g d 82



One comment

  1. This piece is hilarious and a consolation to anyone who has been allergic to (or just irritated by) something that is generally thought to be pleasant. (Most perfumes make me sneeze my brains out, but that is no great loss.) The idea that literature “reveals the secrets hidden beneath our clothing” should be of interest to TSA; they spend a lot of money on body scanners.

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