To bite into an orange is not the same as to cut

into an orange is not the same

as to pick the orange

Ask my father, he knows the difference.

He buys a five pound bag from the same man by the overpass once a week,

sometimes twice. My sister and I beg him to stop. We have too many oranges in the house and

some of them are starting to mold and smell: sickly, sweet decay.

But no, today oranges, tomorrow cherries.

his uncles

had to eat wet dog food while working the fields

“They put it on the stove and wrapped it up in a tortilla! Can you believe that shit?”

He says,


to keep from crying

that’s why he buys all these oranges to feed us

Rotten fruit

instead of

dog food

One summer all my mom would eat were pepitas

she’d buy in five pound bags from the señoras at the swap meet

My sister and I rolled our eyes at the stench:
sweet rotting orange salty seeds all sweat and tears

Now we squeeze oranges over our heads

Let their yolks drip down

And take turns

Baptizing each other in the sea

Alexandra Martinez is a baker and poet living in Brooklyn, NY. Send flowers to @alxndramartinez.