Apple of the earth, right? And it does, it smells like earth. Even after I wash it, the skin, my skin, it smells like earth.
Rough under my fingertips.
Careful not to cut my fingertips. Nine out of ten I do, I cut myself accidentally. Doesn’t matter if I use a knife or a peeler. I do it.
So generally I don’t do it. Peel the earth apples, I mean. I don’t peel them.
They say that’s where the good stuff is, anyway. That Russians kept the peels and gave their prisoners the insides. The soft, fleshy insides.
Anyway, back to peeling. If I peel them, I wash them and rub them first between my hands. Then I smell my fingers because I can’t help myself. The smell on my fingers is better than the smell on the potatoes.
Next I pull the green garbage can halfway out from under the sink, balancing it against my knee. One slice at a time, the peels curl away. Cut away from myself. Hold the potato in my palm, gripping with the ends of my fingers. Pushing the knife down, the peels fall down, and finally the white inside is naked in my hand. Strange knobs in the flesh exposed.
Set the exposed potato aside to start on the next.
And then the next.
Such a quick, casual affair.
I don’t like the way my fingers smell, all starchy and acrid, after peeling them. Much less intimate. Which is interesting since at that point the earth apple is laid bare.