Marin Poetry Center

I've been peeling oranges as a form of prayer

By Claire Cameron

My grandmother taught me that
If you peel an orange in one go it’s good luck
So I let my chubby fingers tear at the flesh of this orange in my palm
Attempting to form some sort of swirl
The skin is too thin
It breaks

Another unsuccessful attempt.

Maybe this
Is how to pray
How the story will repair itself
How I will gather the mottled pages
And stitch them back together
How I can go back to last summer
And undo it all
Watch her stand in the lake,
Unwary of the cold
Maybe this is my Hail Mary
Maybe this is a prayer

But the peel keeps disintegrating in my hands
And the ink has already been smeared
Because time comes and goes and changes all things
And I know it’s over
But you know that I can’t accept that
So let me have this
Let me tear the tissue in a clean go
Let the citrus sting my fingers
Let it seep into my torn thumbs
Let me eat this orange and taste the juice
Let me feel clean
Let me put freshly laundered gingham sheets on my mattress and sleep
Let me hail the world
Rewrite my story
Let me tear away this layer
Between me and truth
And finally
Be enough

Honorable Mention: Claire Cameron
Tamalpais High School

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