by Christine Rhein

Orange Days

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