A Drawer Full of Oranges


Sliding forward, upward pucker
soft and fresh, pore
to first slick of spring dew.

An ancient etymology.
Syllables underfoot
unfolding across continents,
thousand-year scroll unscraped,
each overwritten character
layering through, spelling new words
with old ink,

parchment unrolled and pinned
between the stained face
of a driftwood table and a bowl.

Shadow glazing white clay
against bruise of knotted branch-scar
and a splinter-snagged tuft of fleece
from the coat of a drowned sailor;
to look into the unfired basin
Is to deny a void, to regard a reflection
without hinge or handle –

the suggestion of eyes, the roof of a nose,
lips like elbowed reeds and the elfish taper
of an ear, but not the ear itself.

A final finger to the surface,
and each ripple defines a prayer
toward Vedic crown of sunlight.

—25 April, 2018
    for Sharla Ronstadt

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