Skip to main content

The Orange, a poem by John T. Leonard

The Orange

   after Wendy Cope

There were shards everywhere for a while

but then I climbed through the red clay of restoration.  

You brushed me off with a straw broom and we played the game 

of gratitude and looped our favorite park five and a half times.  

We walked through the door of our home with a bag of new books, 

artisan fridge magnets, the caffeine shimmers—an entire day 

ahead of us.

Sometimes I’ll be packing my lunch and realize, for the last three days,

everything has worked out.  The way an orange is pre-sliced for whoever

wants to eat it.  The way the soft white glow of the moon falls on the rain

gutters, as silent as the hidden sparrows in our neighbor’s ailanthus.

I think I was meant to share this sentiment, to piece it out like an orange

and give a little slice to everybody—to keep enough for myself, but give 

most of it to you. 

It feels so new, to draw an arrow of peace from my chest to our garden 

where your voice pushes the tomatoes and zucchini along, where you 

will look up and find me, a silly new poem written, my sense of accomplishment 

leading me through the screen door to find you. And you’ll tell me to grab a trowel.   

There are weeds to be unfastened.

Just to have you.  And this garden.  And some pink left in the sky.

What time we have left over—

With it, I’ll love you.

With it, I’ll be glad I exist. 

John T. Leonard is an award-winning writer, English teacher, and poetry editor for Twyckenham Notes. He holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University. His previous works have appeared in Chiron Review, December Magazine, North Dakota Review, Ethel Zine, Louisiana Literature, Jelly Bucket, Mud Season Review, Nimrod International Journal, The Indianapolis Review, Genre: Urban Arts, and Trailer Park Quarterly among others. He lives in Elkhart, Indiana with his wife, three cats, and two dogs. You can follow him on Twitter at @jotyleon and @TwyckenhamNotes.