by Josie Sigler
1. The Orange.
Worth a dare, common enough,
I’ve seen them in the bins waiting.
I’ve seen them taking alms,
impatient with the grey flecks in your eyes.
Small in your hand,
but you lean
with the nail of your thumb
like Orion driving at winter’s earth
from sky; you try, sucking at the wound
until the blood’s gone dry;
pull back again, stare: Seductress,
and in the concave bird
the zest; and in the air,
a fine mist coming.
2. The Grapefruit.
Larger, and it sung
in the kitchen cupped
entirely between your palms,
nimble as you readied it beside a tall
glass of milk, your fingers
grow lean, removing the silk
threads bearing down to the Glisten:
You can Get at them all.
Listen, parting it at the center, you do the math
3. The Avocado.
The shape, blood-time held still
for wanting; you take
the cocoon and run a knife along it,
edging the supposed moth
back out; Avocados taste best in a season
of doubt, say spring,
but you’re busy, you’re hurrying, it’s a fact
of the thing: you want this flesh;
you smart a knife into the pit, it sticks,
come out triumphant, use your hands to scoop
And, even licking, that butter clings
to your lips.
4. The Pomegranate.
Too many’ve loved her wrong, you say,
they squeezed until she bled on their neat shirts
You understand in a lifetime she’s worn
the most-varied of skirts; you remove
each neatly, separate
the whites, let each red pustule dance so briefly plump
between your first two fingers,
slight small pause before the basin comes to the brink
of full, you cull any that have burst:
you like to bring them, you like to think
of me waiting so I can praise
but I’ve watched all along:
a marvel that someone so strong could do the gentle thing
we’d asked, and so bent
at your task.