Sharon Olds

Liddy’s Orange

The rind lies on the table where our girl has left it 
torn into pieces the size of petals and  
curved like petals, rayed out like a  
full-blown rose, one touch will make it come apart. 
The lining of the rind is wet and chalky as 
Devonshire cream, rich as the glaucous
lining of a boiled egg, all that protein 
cupped in the rich shell. And the navel, 
torn out carefully,  
lies there like a fat gold
bouquet, and the scar of the stem, picked out 
with her nails, and still attached to the white 
thorn of the central integument,  
lies on the careful heap, a tool laid  
down at the end of a ceremony.  
All here speaks of ceremony,  
the sheen of acrid juice, which is all that is 
left of the flesh, the pieces lying in 
profound order like natural order,  
as if this simply happened, the way her   
life at 13 looks like something that’s just 
happening, unless you see her  
standing over it, delicately clawing it open.

spoken = Linsay Rousseau