"Tangerine"

Voices

April 16, 2006|By TED KOOSER | TED KOOSER,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Poet Ruth L. Schwartz writes of the glimpse of possibility, of something sweeter than we already have that comes to us, grows in us. The unrealizable part of it causes bitterness; the other opens outward, the cycle complete. This is both a poem about a tangerine and about more than that.

"Tangerine"

It was a flower once, it was one of a billion flowers

whose perfume broke through closed car windows,

forced a blessing on their drivers.

Then what stayed behind grew swollen, as we do;

grew juice instead of tears, and small hard sour seeds,

each one bitter, as we are, and filled with possibility.

Now a hole opens up in its skin, where it was torn from the

branch; ripeness can't stop itself, breathes out;

we can't stop it either. We breathe in.

Ted Kooser is U.S. poet laureate. From "Dear Good Naked Morning," (c) 2005 by Ruth L. Schwartz. Reprinted by permission of the author and Autumn House Press. First printed in Crab Orchard Review, Vol. 8, No. 2.

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