Triptych with Oranges

By | 15 May 2023
The valley cambered as much as hollowed between hills that let us come here as strangers dropping flesh around planted fields, a containment where the orchard coughed up oranges, forsaken fruit nobody picked. One by one they fell, each swollen ovary inspired from a single blossom, & rolled downhill, co-locating at the corner of the rusted steel-wire fence, like a fermenting neon arrowhead bringing our attention to that point on the river where it held the coat a leafless tree was trying to pull under.

You always said neon when you meant luminescent, started painting watercolour trees on cardboard back when you were single & deep, working away in the East. You came home stung by the colour orange & exhausted ironwood jungles. Woods separated you from the street – its names, eyes, spit & fur, the cluster of man passing, playing. I remember sitting beside you at the Blackbutt table, dining on glow, blood moon crashing into the house, you licking it from the polished blade of a knife.

We crossed over the main road in the suburb’s south, passing its broken tables on the verge, its row of never-opened windows. The smoke-wracked air stung even our spit as it left our mouths. You obsessed over there not being enough names for orange, how each related back to edible things – apricot, tangerine, salmon. Hear the rainwater in the gully beside the roadworks, how it sounds like the sea, I said it only to distract. You coughed, lifted a traffic cone & held it to your ear, nodding.

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