Oranges

by Joseph Davison-Duddles

Every summer, oranges grew like heartbeats:
my father went to the grave of his sister
and my mother picked them from the trees.

Mornings and nights were peeled from their days
and every day seemed a Sunday, a few fruit bathed
in cold water to slow their ripening.

Occasionally, with the oranges unwatched,
we would steal them early from the water –
our hands dripping across the kitchen floor.

The juice went sticky and stained our hands
till we soaked in the basin water at evening,
when the sun is a fruit on its lowest branch.

On those evenings, my father would sit
in the orchard after every fruit had fallen
and watch them change to molten shades.