We told the seasons of the year in fruit

We told the seasons of the year in fruit:
small soft-skinned oranges from Japan
wrapped in tissue-thin green paper—
in December, every kid in school had them
in their lunch boxes; we’d stick the oranges
on our thumbs, like miniature pumpkins,
put the peel in the fireplace to scent the house.

In summer, there were plums—dark purple
with sweet yellow centers, green ones
with taunt flesh—and wild strawberries, raspberries,
and blueberries; we’d come home covered
in scratches, dusty, tired, our tell-tale mouths
blue and red, our stained teeth full of seeds.

Fall brought apples, striped and fragrant,
taking up whole islands in the supermarket,
and the last of the rhubarb: tart strips in apple
pies, then nothing again until Christmas.

Now I can eat oranges in October, strawberries
in February, and fruits I’d only heard of: kiwis,
passion fruit, mangoes, and pomegranates.

But I still think of the seasons through fruit:
remember the miracle of those small orange
suns, each wrapped, a gift, when my world
was closed in snow, and ice, and darkness.


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