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23 Apr 2004

Oranges.

Written by sally @ 7:38 am — Section: sally

I turned to the candies
Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted–
Light in her eyes, a smile
Starting at the corners
Of her mouth.


Oranges
Gary Soto

The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.
December. Frost crackling
Beneath my steps, my breath
Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather.
A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling
At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore. We
Entered, the tiny bell
Bringing a saleslady
Down a narrow aisle of goods.
I turned to the candies
Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted–
Light in her eyes, a smile
Starting at the corners
Of her mouth. I fingered
A nickel in my pocket,
And when she lifted a chocolate
That cost a dime,
I didn’t say anything.
I took the nickel from
My pocket, then an orange,
And set them quietly on
The counter. When I looked up,
The lady’s eyes met mine,
And held them, knowing
Very well what it was all
About.

Outside,
A few cars hissing past,
Fog hanging like old
Coats between the trees.
I took my girl’s hand
In mine for two blocks,
Then released it to let
Her unwrap the chocolate.
I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands.

(from Modern Poems: A Norton Introduction, ed. Richard Ellmann and Robert O’Clair, 1989, p. 860-861)

4 Responses to “Oranges.”

  1. RD said:

    Man, I love Gary Soto. He’s so average-everyday about it all, yet it feels so monumental. The simplicity of his ideas forces me to sit there shaking my head, wondering why I’d ever consider writing a poem myself because I could never focus that much, no matter how detail-oriented my mind believes itself to be. Anyway, I wanted to write a poem using “land-lubber” and “onc’t.” What was I thinking?

  2. Kicker of Elves said:

    Wow. That’s a great one.

  3. Sally said:

    I think this is also in a very good volume called Home Course in Religion. I highly recommend it.

  4. vendela said:

    hey sally, how bout some gary snyder? i had a crush on him my junior year when i took a literature of the beats class. what was his name in the dharma bums? japho ryder or something else gay?