She Sells Oranges Quietly

She wakes early
releases her algebra for a day
puts her essays on hold
forages the appropriate tee-shirt to
state the appropriate statement
or just wears stay-cool-jersey to stay cool
on hot spring days
paints dawn with her fingertips
on the way to the farmer’s market
a kind of retro trip
cool in its own way to
stack oranges and
tangerines with

plastic glove-wrapped fingers
and sell
oranges quietly
early on Sundays
before churches accumulate and empty
before the malls open

tuck satsuma mandarins
into thin plastic bags
do the arithmetic
in the back of her mind
multitasking on last-minute projects and prom dresses
feel her fingerprints through the gloves
unique as wrinkles on orange rind
as she returns change
scented with clementine and tangerine

the oranges whisper
about people
who buy apples and potatoes
say they will get scurvy
that they do not understand the sensuous aspects of fruit
the joy of bathing in the juice
wrapping in peel like a second skin
putting a slice in your mouth
peel first
to make children laugh

oranges stack quietly
ask for little
she helps them find homes
among Brussels sprouts
baby carrots and
freshly baked multigrain bread

samples pummelos and ugli
disperses kumquats and limes
adds small adventures named citrus reticulate
or aurantifolia
to lemonade and margaritas
and just squeezed by hand
into clear cold water
against the skin of fresh salmon
takes a mental note for creative writing class
about detoxifying citrus daydreams

smiles quietly
tells customers to enjoy their mandarins.


Published in Illya’s Honey, Spring/Summer 2004

This Poem was a 2005 Pushcart Prize Nominee


~ by danielwrasmus on January 19, 2011.

One Response to “She Sells Oranges Quietly”

  1. Brilliant poetry..

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