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"Orange Blossoms"

November 27, 2007


Orange Blossoms

“A typical orange tree carries about 100,000 pollinated blossoms, each of which is a potential orange, complete with the seeds that are potential trees. But in the course of a season, only about 500 oranges are actually produced. The tree determines which ones make the cut…” -Dan Cray, Time Magazine, Oct.2007

They rest, like gleaming starfish, mouthing light-
bulbs, fringed in gold-faced sticky fillae,
expectant. Clustered like stars on the forked
trunk, among the ovate, bottom-heavy
leaves, dark green, with crenulated margins:
scalloped like a cloud, or doily. Petals
joined, nested like ivory measuring
spoons: tablespoon, teaspoon, one-half, one-quarter.
One-hundred thousand of you, pollinated,
palming life. The decision has come: wet,
smooth, black bark sheds the “not viable”—the ones
with insufficient light, or hosts to moths’
homes. Luminescent petals slide to the ground:
the ill-begotten, eleven-week blood
pulp of a pitiless mother tree.

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