Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blood Oranges

digitally re-imagined from photo found on-line

Blood Oranges
by Margaret Hasse

A woman came on board the bus today
carrying blood oranges in a string bag,
her lips like red cuffs on the sleeve of her throat.

People in heavy coats sit like spools of black and blue,
the shock of a Monday workday freezing our morning faces.
I envy her, wrapped in a woven shawl like a choir of crayons.
For months, I’ve tried to pull my heart up,
a stone from the well of disappointment.

Standing, she flirts with the driver in a language
that clicks like knitting needles.
Her voice filling the aisle could melt the blue slush on the floor mats.
Laughter opens her mouth to a diva’s O plucking a high C.

Down the aisle she floats by our plastic pews.
As if happiness has a hand on her breast, as if happiness
is taking her body apart in pieces of dazzled joy.

She is rickrack on a funeral dress,
a peacock’s tail fanned against a gray wall,
a handful of bright corn to feed the birds.
She smiles with a candle’s flame that doesn’t fade when it lights another.

The sun shoots golden arrows through the dirt-pocked windows.
Stopping the bus with a tug on the white cord,
I exit the accordion doors to a walkway through the snow.

~ previously published in Earth’s Appetite (Nodin Press)