Brooks Salzwedel

My mother’s most beloved trick: take a simple orange,
turn it into pure sorrow. She did this in the manner
of a spell, a story (the same story over, over). The dark
handkerchief of her words whisked away and presto—
the thirties, a girl whose teeth vibrated with ache, who 
walked barefoot in snow or may as well have, soles
that tenuous. Who received in her Christmas sock
each year, only one orange. The story began here—
with her hand rolling its cool pebbled flesh across her cheek
in that farmhouse so bitter she could see her breath.
With her inhaling its sweet citrus rodeo, sketching it
with her last stubby crayon, for posterity. Telling her diary
about the sunny supple star from which it travelled.
Positioning her thumb in its softest point then stopping
to pray for strength to resist. Truth is, this was a girl’s story
more than a saga of peasants rising, stoic,
from their hungers. After all, consider the inner world
of the orange—labial, lush, lost,
utterly lost at the first fissure in its pulpy stockade. 
More fallen, even, than the common apple. All this
happened prior to me, making me the sequel
to the orange story—for what loveliness is not 
torn open, in the end? So I arrived, the sad
document of a woman’s defeat.
– Jeanette Lynes, The Inner World of the Orange

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