Tess Gallagher
Orange Sutra


I wanted to take you in, peel and all,
with the mind's all-swallowing
mouth. But the mind prefers
unoranging the orange
until a segment unhinges
and shines upright
in the night sky, unaware
of the night or of its own shining.

In such a way the mind makes a darker thing
of night's conception of itself.
Its crescent admonishes lamentation as
a temporary setback, mindful of the round,
the moon's fullness, from which it came
and from which it draws power
to increase or disappear
into us, entirely.

Gone full again, how orange are you, Orange,
now that a moon mistakes you for its
daughter? Just as I
thought: you are a wisecrack
in the abundance of the night's spiraling obituary,
willing to carry us with you
like poor relations,
until we run out of pretexts, alterations
and gambits.

If I choose to live in mind of you,
it will be known only on the blackboard
of a thought's mad all-over grammar,
those woolly bees of the heart
that want to sting a moment to death
with memory -- spelling the past wuz,
with its fur on, and letting it roll before us
like an orange, a portable altar
that prays all over itself
with itself.

You could say so, Orange.
You could kneel as you said so.
The way an orange is always kneeling
and upright at once.