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Oranges

Wendy Morton


We’re eating tofu with black bean sauce,
prawns with garlic at the Noodle House.
You tell me how you nearly died,
one January morning:
an aortal tear at 11 am;
and suddenly, nearly dead, bleeding,
filled with morphine,
you chanted "No" in the ambulance,
all the way to Calgary.
You tell me, between courses,
how they split you open, sternum to navel,
packed you with ice cubes.
And I begin to imagine ice cubes
in the shape of stars, starfish, small brilliant hearts,
ice flowers.
I stop, mid-imagining.
ask to see your scar.
You pull down the neck of your Stanfield,
show me.

For two weeks, you tell me,
your life was morphine dreams,
like the afterimage on the tv: you see
an old woman in a dark room who sells belts
and buttons. She shows you a gilded box
filled with eggs. Then, you're on
an abandoned carousel in the rain.

When you wake your mind moves underwater.
When the doctors tell you
about deep hypothermic circulatory arrest,
you see cops and robbers,
think oceans, heat. Words scramble.
You call an orange an antelope,
call an avocado a raven.

Finally one autumn day smelling of ice, flowers,
you eat an orange. Call it that.
Rejoice.



Wendy Morton's works copyright © to the author.


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