was his gift to me the afternoon they told us
we would be married. Our fathers had arrived.
Our families gathered in the garden.
I served them tea.
Later, he and I were allowed to sit together
a little to one side. We were too shy to speak
to each other, but he took the orange
from his pocket and I saw – in its warm color,
in its tender skin, so aromatic,
in the juice that flowed
down his fingers as he broke a section of the fruit
for me to eat – such promise.
Years later there are many scents
that recall our shared lives.
The earthy henna,
mown hay lying in the field, wood smoke,
bread hot from the village oven,
onions, garlic, rosemary, soil,
sweat, and candle-wax,
tea sweetened with beet sugar,
blood. But none of these can provoke the pain
of his absence,
or can console,
as does the fragrance of an orange
peeled, and dripping into my hand.
Send one poem only to wildamorris[at]ameritech[dot]net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for “dot”). Put “February Poetry Challenge Submission” in the subject line of your email. Include a brief bio which can be printed with your poem if you are a winner this month. Please put your name and bio under the poem in your email.