14.1 (Fall 2009)   The 2River View AuthorsPoemsPDFMake the MagArchives2River
Bird Detail

Ariana Nash

The Orange


He handed me an orange, wanted me
to taste: the sweet acid, the hundred ripe
juice capsules, the acrid paste of the rind
still clinging in patches to its surface.

As I savored, he sermoned: you must taste
everything once, feed your gaping raw-red
tunnel, each spongy coral-bud of your
palate wants a different shock to awe it.


He was horrified then when I bought one
every day. He watched me eat my orange —
followed the knife-slice and then my fingers,
rivulets down my hands that my reef-tongue

lapped up — stared as the peel pile grew. Each day
he stood further away at my first bite —
my pleasure in devouring, tearing
into flesh — scared of my grip on fruit.

Over Breakfast

My hand is poised above the mug about
to pour a sugar packet into tea

and I remember the woman
from the desert between Jaipur and Jaisalmer
where the tanks poured over the highway
to the Pakistani-Indian border.
She is squatting outside her hut
pounding her rough dough
with a pestle, her grey hair drawn
tightly back from her brown face, her faded
blue-purple sari taut at her protruding knees.
Or she has just returned — a bundle of sticks
on her covered head, a ring pinching her nose —
from the mile path to the nearest
source of wood for her fire. She is smiling proudly
with her eyes and her few stained teeth
and maybe she will start a fire
and put the water on to boil.

I tip my hand and pour the white sugar
into the tea which has steeped dark.

Ariana Nash is a working writer and teacher of creative writing living in Wilmington, North Carolina. She was recently published in the Xenith. contact