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What Is Love If Not Rot? by Jane Wong

What Is Love If Not Rot?

by Jane Wong

online at the Seattle Public Library Seattle Writes web site

I’ve been watching videos of rotting oranges on time-lapse again – it’s barely noticeable at first – the pores begin to grow, craters of no importance – after 14 days, the skin thins out, rice paper thin, wind thin, loneliness thin – at 15 days, spots bloom like a newborn galaxy or a bald buzzard – circling, a shadow returning winter’s wail – the skin puckers in on itself, all chimney ash, all brain-matter mold – the middle like touching a young organ – slobbering milk and mud – a pedestal of goldenrod flora at 17 days – at 20 days, moss lumbers up and through – continents growing along this orb – thickening at 22 days like cotton lint from the dryer, like fur, a sheepskin cloud, like my mother – an animal in her own right, expanding – now, the color phlegm yellow, poor yellow – growing smaller and smaller by 25 days – collapsing upon itself like curled fists – how I sleep at night, returning to heartbreak after heartbreak – fruit flies fluttering about like snow – what is holding it up still, what is keeping it here, how can I bear – to watch it – how can I – liquefy by 45 days, wolfish in citrus murk – ever-shrinking like every grandparent I’ve ever held hands with – at 85 days, how to hold this slush of glittering bees – trapped in no worldly amber –

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