Sestina for Fruitsellers

by Michael Macklin

She comes to me with a knife
in one hand and an orange
in the other to ask about its sweetness
how to reach the seeds, peel the rind
how to touch the heart,
its center so filled with flavor.
As if she didn’t know the flavor
trapped in sections a knife
could barely reach in her heart.
How closed doors hide us from the orange
of sunlight, only by losing our rind
can we bathe in each others’ sweetness.
Cool water from an old hand pump, whose sweetness
calls up long lost flavors,
a belief that seeds ignore the rind
force themselves toward the knife
up through the damp and dark, orange
sheathed roots of the heart.
They move silently as a hart
seeking the early grasses’ sweetness
moving ghostly, fog filmed orange
by the new sun’s flavor,
the way she comes to me with a knife
opens my chest, spirals back the rind.
My sharpened plow turns the rind
of a field, its damp furrow flavors
the air as when a section of fruit, knifed
apart, lays vulnerable, exuding sweetness.
filling the morning air with the heart wrenching
scent of freshly sliced oranges.
She comes to me like an orange
offering to peel the rind
that envelopes her rare flavor
encloses her hidden heart
offering both a dream and its sweetness
even as she offers her own knife.

I would trade this orange which like my heart
holds under its worldthickened rind, such sweetness
a flavor that waits for love’s knife.

Michael Macklin
1st complete draft