William Reichard The 2River View, 8.4 (Summer 2004)

On the other side of town, a woman sits
at her desk in an office that looks out
onto a park across the street. The traffic
flows heavy and silver, a dirty metallic stream.
She watches winter birds in winter trees,
bare branches flowering in small white lights
that try to mimic summer’s heat.
She considers the anomaly of sunlight on
the shortest day of the year. She eats
an orange, sees everything warm
the way she remembers it when
she was a girl, running fast along
city streets, dashing through empty lots.
She considers the way we must
wait until everything freezes to find
this slight reward; the way we must eat
and eat and yet never have enough;
the way we must savor the tiny wedges,
their taste of summer from the other side
of the world. She remembers the way
the world opened up to her before
she learned what not to trust.
She knows now that small things
give pleasure: a cat napping on her lap;
a garden arranged so the rocks
form a stream of stone where
no water flows; the white silence
of the park; the breath of the house
she is building for herself; small oranges,
strangely ripe in December, how they peel
easily, then open up; the way they fit,
like a world, in the palm of your hand.

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