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 telltale 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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