By William Ogden Haynes


The old man on the park bench

pulls an orange from a brown paper bag.

He peels back the rind

exposing sections of fruit in a tight sphere,

each with its own membrane,

sealing the juice inside.

He slowly turns the wedges in a circle

like luggage on a crowded airport carousel.

In each suitcase is a memory

tinged with happiness and despair.

Ten sections, his mama said,

smiles or frowns,

depending on how you hold them.

He divides the orange in half

and peels off a piece of fruit.

And even after eighty years,

before he puts it in his mouth,

he makes certain to hold it

with the wedge corners pointing upward.




William Ogden Haynes is a poet from Alabama and has published poetry in literary journals such as California Quarterly and PIF Magazine. His chapbook entitled Five Thousand Days has been accepted for publication in 2011 by Negative Capability Press in Mobile, AL. He has been invited to read his work at several arts festivals in the state and believes that the mark of a good poem is that, at the end, people feel glad they read or heard it. In a prior life he taught speech-language pathology at Auburn University and authored six major professional textbooks.



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