This is all I know about oranges.
You hold the frozen can under
a hot tap until you can squeeze
out the concentrated juice and
then add water, like my mother
did every day of my childhood.
Most of the time you forget about
the juicy sweet oranges barely
contained under sun-ripened
skins that come in a box from her
parents, once a year, to remind her
of a warm California childhood.
You watch her eat her orange slowly,
after yours is long gone, and wonder
what memory is she reliving today. You
don’t know because she doesn’t talk
much about her childhood, but you know
it must have been a good one, the way
she holds on to that orange. You never
hear her complain about moving to
Oregon, where no orange has ever grown,
but she relies upon your father to inform
everyone of how lucky they are to have
escaped that hell-hole, south California.
About the Author: Casey Killingsworth’s poems have been accepted in Kimera, Timberline Review, COG, and other journals. He has a book of poems, A Handbook for Water, (Cranberry Press, 1995) as well as a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). He graduated from Reed College.