Mandarin

Seventy Nine cents can buy a

silver can full of watery slices

of mandarin oranges, settled and sweet,

nestled in added sugar between cans

of peas and extra spaghetti sauce.

The pop of the seal with opener’s

pierce, twists a circumference of the cylinder

and frees a lid. Juice strained into

shiny steel sink, plop the segments into

a cream colored ceramic bowl.

Fork prods pale fruit veins

before a jab carries orange flesh on flatware

onto my anxious tongue,

eager to scarf my syrupy snack.

 

After so many years of knowing only

the taste of oranges from the can,

your lips were the fruit straight from

the cool, bumpy peel. The sugar not added

by mechanical measures, sweetness not

manufactured. Rather, from leaf’s work

turns sunshine and lung’s waste to

true flavor from the emerald branches.

The forbidden ruby orb holds no temptation

while orchards of orange exist,

every can will pale in comparison

to these two perfect segments,

alive on your face, ripe and untouched.

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