My thumbnail presses
into tangerine top,
oily mist spray arcs

over my hand,
fragrant and sharp.
One pull and threads

of pith and peel
surrender, revealing
segments and skin.

Would that everything
open this easily.
My son grows more

quiet as each month goes
by and I want—like citrus
pieces in my hand—

what he wants, what
he worries about,
what he hopes for,

so I can hand them over
to him. Bitter white sponge
flesh and wooden pips

hide inside. He’ll grow
his own secrets. I peel
tangerine after tangerine.

Michele Parker Randall
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