by Christine Rhein
In the cobalt bowl, oranges gleam: still life
in my kitchen where life is never still.
Even on this quiet afternoon, house to myself,
duties tug at my sleeve, but I sit here scribbling
about indifferent oranges, blue glass neither nest
nor cage. Truth comes down to attitude.
And today I resent keeping the fruit bowl filled,
the time spent choosing in the store, judging
each piece against some noble ideal. So what
if oranges are sweet and good for you?
I’m tired of repeated segments, of partitioning
myself, of being good.
Neruda asked, How do the oranges divide up
sunlight in the orange tree?
Oranges grow round without seeking
admiration, fretting over purpose,
the verb to be their heft, their ample language,
while my alphabet—O for Orange—
leads from one meaning to another,
like orange rind turned to candy.
Like MFK Fisher roasting tangerine crescents
atop a radiator, the scent filling her room
as she waited for the delicate crunch, rush
of juice, words to describe her pleasure:
subtle and voluptuous and quite inexplicable…
-originally appeared in The MacGuffin