Oranges, overflowing the blue glass bowl. Taken whole,
they are mere ornament, a set stage, a welcoming committee.
They offer a flourish of optimism, the absence of trouble,
a still life. The glass looks shatterproof,
the oranges like exclamation marks.
When you carried them to the end of the table, there was
a bit of the housewife in you, wanting a scene of tidy contentment.
The apron sealed it, the slippers. But of course, taken whole,
you knew the oranges would not entice. This kind of beauty is
impenetrable. It doesn’t ask to be entered.
Sometimes, a thing has to be sliced open,
a knife taken down the center,
and you do, fingers wet with the brutal act of flaying.
And then, everything shatters, as it must.
Everything shatters. We shatter.
Piece by piece, we peel back, spraying our blood, our seeds,
the center of the center of our stories,
and piece by piece
someone gathers to the table