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“Orange as Oranges” by Katy Lei

The title poem in the 2019-2020 WITS Student Anthology, The Seeds to Plant the Future, was written by Franklin High School student Katy Lei in a WITS residency with writer Amy Minato. Read it below.

Orange as Oranges

by Katy Lei

Mom comes home
With a bin full
Of the bright spheres
She says there
Was a sale
I can’t turn back.

A fruit bowl
A picturesque scene
Fit for a grand
Still life painting
But I can only focus
On one particular
Piece of produce
No color as vibrant
Or enchanting
As this one
Fragrant as if standing
In front of an orchard
Full of the citruses
Bite into it
And feel like a king
As rich as
The robber barons
Of the Gilded Age
A cannonball
To siege castles
A throne
To sit upon

The seeds
To plant the future
So I reach
For a paint brush
And splatter a canvas
My hands turn
Sticky and pulpy
But it doesn’t matter

A knife lays forgotten
On a cutting board
I peel and peel and peel
The sickly sweet liquid
Escapes and seeps
Into a papercut
My hands quiver
Pressing a fingernail
Into the plump flesh
I shoot myself
In the eye
My vision turns blurry
I clench my eyes shut
It burns.
Tears flood in torrents
Down my cheeks
That I can’t wipe
Away fast enough
It becomes juice
That stains
And can’t be removed

It is my dessert.
My assertion.
It is my obsession.
My prized possession.
But we can’t all be
As orange as oranges


Watch the 2019-2020 WITS Student Anthology launch at the 2020 Portland Book Festival or purchase the anthology and support Literary Arts’ Youth Programs.

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