Still Life With Orange

By John L’Heureux, S.J .
No golden apple, apple of the moon,
Persian apple pulsing with the veins
of Basra, Cairo, the wharves of Alexander:
an orange only.
Hope quartered in each sickle moon webs
its solemn traceries of wine, shrining
the surface in a pattern of love, entwining
threads from the orange core — of dew and musk
and the heart’s own sinew.
Its womb enfolds a city of prayer, a holy city,
city of hope; veins coursing with love to a heart
where, cruel as death, terror starts; raging,
afraid of alone. A holy city.
And deep within the ribs’ wry cavern
the lean charred faces of Eastern saints
gaze the city ashes. Seeds are tears
of a Byzantine Madonna.
Beneath the orange flesh, the womb, the webbing —
concentric worlds edging a willing love —
whirls a cosmos wedged in fourteen arcs
alive with an Easter wonder.