After Stephen Dunn
If an orange appeared at the edge of your property – in the grey fuzz of winter, a bright orb so out of place – would you pick it up? Would you wonder where it came from – did it roll from a school lunch bag, drop from the sky?
Would you take the cold, wet orange into your warm, dry kitchen? I did. When I added it to the wooden bowl containing two spotted bananas, a waxy apple, and a shriveled lime, it seemed to plump up even more – to glow. A tropical scent filled the air, and I found myself smiling.
If the orange you found at the edge of your property asked to see your bedroom, would you be shocked? Or flattered? I was both. Sitting on my nightstand, the orange continued to talk, but I can’t tell you what it said, only that I liked its accent and had very few questions of my own.
Eventually, the orange suggested we cuddle together in bed. By now, the whole house smelled of suntan oil and sea salt, and the thermostat read 95 degrees.
I hope you won’t mind me telling you that we made love, that orange and I. And I don’t regret it one bit. Would you really have said no to such a concentrated dose of sunlight in the dark trough of February? If you must know, yes, it was seedless – and, yes, mimosas followed.
Joely Johnson Mork's essays, poems, and creative nonfiction have been heard on NPR; appeared in places such as Dark Hollow (defunct), Typewriter (also no longer in existence), Rose Red Review, and the blog www.motheringinthemiddle.com; and can be found in the recent anthology, The Zen of Midlife Motherhood. A freelance health and science writer/editor by trade, she holds a master's degree in health education and is also a certified yoga instructor. She is a native New Yorker currently residing in Seattle with her husband and son. At some point, you'll be able to find her online at www.joelyjohnsonmork.com.