“Oranges” by Lauren S. Cook

Lauren S. Cook


Today I sliced navels
for my son’s soccer game.
I took care to cut them evenly,
to trim the pith. I know
this is unremarkable—
a soccer mom, a fruit poem.
I promise I’m a person
of average tragedy who
scours each happiness
for its flaw. I can’t
help that they looked
picturesque piled
in a bowl. I nearly called in
my partner to look—
but I know the smallness of this
joy: gauze-thin, vanishing.
I’m ashamed that I told you,
but I feel something
should be said for the oranges—
not an ode, but a note
that they were adequate,
in no way failing, nor I, nor
the chef’s knife, nor the sun,
which lit the room in the way
it does sometimes, illuminating
the dust in the air, the specks
gliding on the smallest of currents.

from Rattle #49, Fall 2015


Lauren S. Cook: “When I was sixteen, we studied John Donne in my English class. The class discussed at length the punctuation of the final line of ‘Holy Sonnet X.’ This act of attention between reader and poem—the way a room full of teenagers talked about a simple comma—is the reason I started writing poetry.”

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