Helen Losse

Essence Of Orange

Just who left the seven oranges in the cold, their fragrance wafting from a blue plastic bucket, isn’t clear. But there they were: Seven orange globes bright as dog toys. The scent of citrus clung to my jacket as though I’d hugged the fruit to my breast all the way home. Their essence followed me in the same way the round brown eyes of the cocker spaniel had followed Drake. The dog appeared on his doorstep during the first vicious snowstorm, but he didn’t keep her then. Not her nor her six newborn puppies. All those months the dog’s eyes followed him back from the woods— like essence of orange or a truth we deny. Later that winter, Drake saw Jesus in a pancake and searched the woods for the dog. He found her in April, brought her home— pregnant again. Drake named his dog Blossom.

Helen Losse is the author of Better With Friends and two poetry chapbooks and the Poetry Editor of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She has recent poetry publications or acceptances in Blue Fifth Review, Main Street Rag, and Iodine Poetry Review.