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ISSUE:  Summer 1992
Last winter I picked four oranges each
night from the tree outside the kitchen door.
Each morning I squeezed the oranges,
poured the juice into our clear glasses,
rested my elbows on the clear
surface of the glass table, looked
through the table at you, half naked, half asleep.

This year I watch the disease crawl
up the branches. The oranges
turn black on the tree. They fall and rot
outside the kitchen door.
The tree suffers from the same
complacency that killed us once or twice,
that kills us even as we walk
away from our only common vision—our
grief—and the sobs behind the voice that
finally whispers what it meant to
say in the first place.

I used to think I cried out of love, or
that a tear was love making itself palpable.
The way I explained it to myself, love
was dangerous, too much love was lethal, and
I was either dying or learning to live forever.


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