October 10, 2018KR OnlinePoetry

The Orange

To look or to listen? Or to touch, to offer
the soft-downed small of the back, like a canvas,

to the blood-rush of both gentleness
and pain, the same blood blooming

against the boundaries. Of course what we touch
is space only, the brain filling in because

it wants to live. We dig because we want to live,
cover because we want to live,

but as the orange on the counter begins
to whiten and fuzz, I don’t think you want to live.

You don’t want to die either, because I have seen you
look at the orange and its death

with something beyond fear
or revulsion: just a decision.

You look at me, deciding. To touch, then, to watch
oneself in another’s hands, to feel, in this moment

of decay, beloved or useful.

Rachel Abramowitz is the author of The Birthday of the Dead, winner of the 2021 Marystina Santiestevan First Book Prize from Conduit Books, the chapbooks The Puzzle Monster (Factory Hollow Press, 2022), winner of the 2021 Tomaž Šalamun Prize, and Gut Lust (Burnside Review Press, 2020), winner of the 2019 Burnside Review Press Book Contest.