“Orange Groves & Fairy Tales” by Diane Wakoski

Diane Wakoski


The little house of paper dolls, barely visible in
the sea of orange groves, lighted only by the stumbling
flames of a trash fire

The little house of high heels, damp with surfer’s
bone-blond hair, with no illumination
except moonlight, and that reflected on a Frisbee

The house of sailors and drunks,
the house where she hid in a closet with her book,
the house with pink flamingoes on the living room mirror
the house where the piano sat upright like an old maid
at a dance

These houses, never with spacious stairways
or silver on the sideboards, never
with black Steinways, their lids open
to silk and cigar smoke,
never the book-paneled rooms
with old oak, leather,
no port in a storeroom, she was not even
Daddy’s girl, just the child shaped like a shawl,
thick ankles and wrists, old-woman child,
a little witch
in a little house,
in the woods—actually,
in Southern California we
call them orange

from Rattle #13, Summer 2000

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