I sat at my table peeling back the thick rind of an orange
I waited for him to come back from an ice cream run.
The skin a little soft
over ripened by a day, maybe two
I dug my thumb in, making that first indentation -
the one that spills the scent of citrus through the room.
I force my thumb under the skin
pushing like a bulldozer
as I turn the orb round and round
one long peel falls to the table.
He comes back, empty-handed
blaspheming the atmosphere with the news of another death
two in one week -
one to drugs,
another to the windshield of a Honda.
I sit in silence
as my thumb drips with the sweet, sticky juice
I take a segment to my lips and only seem to taste the bitterness of the missed piece of rind.
The piece burst as my molars meet
the juice a little soured
the flesh a little tough
and I'm afraid to swallow,
like there's a piece I won't be able to choke down.