Mouthful of Orange

by Athena Nassar

Art by Natasha Arnowitz

mouthful of orange

the matrix is my bony hand poking through the hole in the wire fence
to pluck honeysuckle from its roots. stripped of its flesh,

my skeletal silhouette curls its fingers around a dying stem. its orange petals
leak a sweet juice— creamsicle tears to coat my lips.

a slave to my own cravings, i ignore the woman telling me to get away
from the fence. a brute, though my hands are bleeding

chlorophyll, i peel back the membrane of a mouthwatering dream
to suck dry the nectar. the fruit of somebody else’s property withering

in my fist. a handful of honeysuckle, a mouthful of greens, eyes full
of sleep, but never slept on. a third eye wide open to the growth

on the other side of the fence. i stare into a blueprint of trees that uproot
when i am not looking. a design so vivid that i am compelled

to pick my own wounds. i cut my veins on the hole in the wire fence
trying to taste the pigment of the leaves, but the woman

comes like poison oak— lays her cold hands on my shoulders and spreads
an omen in the form of a pink rash. still slurping the milk

of somebody else’s honeysuckle, i do not listen to the woman telling me
to get away from the fence. my chin drips a rosy liquid—

back oozes rosy blisters from the cold hands of the woman, but i continue
to eat away at her flowers not knowing and not caring if i am awake.

-Athena Nassar

Atlas Magazine is accepting poetry submissions to be featured on our website. Follow the link to see our monthly theme and submit your work.

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