I slice the navel orange
into halves, quarters, eighths.
My front teeth pull
the cold pulp from the peel.
Tart sweet juice spurts
onto my tongue. The overflow
is sticky on my fingers, drizzles
down my chin. My lips press
into every inch of the fruit,
and I try not to think
of some Chevy Silverado driving
through a Florida citrus grove;
masked migrant workers balanced
on the truck bed, spraying
pesticides on the leaves
and hanging fruit – to ensure
a profitable yield. I try not to imagine
how that residue might be charging
through my body’s chemistry,
Flavor wins over fear, my friends.
A lifetime of eating poison-tainted
oranges isn’t so alarming. Maybe,
in the long run, it will have saved me
a few less days of over-ripeness
and rot when I dangle
in a nursing home, waiting
for the inevitable drop.