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The Orange Came First

The orange came first- was there ever a doubt? Not to us, who worked the pardess. 4 a.m., riding to the grove on the tender— open-backed, tented car, huddled as we watched the kibbutz stream past, a river of bodies … Read More

By / January 1, 2007

The orange came first- was there ever a doubt? Not to us, who worked the pardess. 4 a.m., riding to the grove on the tender— open-backed, tented car, huddled as we watched the kibbutz stream past, a river of bodies emerging from houses.

In our hooded raincoats, armed with clippers, we advanced: dusky army. Oranges gleamed in the black trees. I reached and plucked, one after another, filling my canvas bag, hearing the rain but lost in the light: fire glinting through leaves. A stubborn one. I tore the white-fleshed branch, tendrils of skin, until she dropped into my palm:

diamond-wet nubs rolling across my heartline. I carved her open with my clippers, broke her skin into four. Someone yelled, The sun is rising! Hooded shadows moved to the clearing. I stood there, wreathed by orange blossoms, juice licking down chin and throat, arms, belly, thighs, clinging.

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