a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Janice D. Soderling
We were shortcutting through the orange grove
when my friends informed me we were trespassing.
They laughed, these friends of my youth, retired expats.
They laughed and the husband stopped to fill his pockets.
I steal a few each day, he said, for tomorrow’s breakfast.
He’s incorrigible, said the wife. Tomorrow
we’ll take you to the market. It’s all so cheap because
this is a poor country. She looked up at the azure sky.
Yes, a poor country, the husband agreed. No resources,
no water, no nothing. But you must haggle. You must!
It’s expected and it’s part of the fun. His pockets
were bulging. It was nearly noon and hot.
They will pretend to be angry, and spit and curse,
but that’s just a game they play. Actually
they are glad to sell at any price. They’re poor.
Now we had arrived at the golf course.
We stopped to admire the green, one of the finest
anywhere. The secret was to never let the roots dry out.
Now we would have a drink or two, eat some lunch.
Not with your pockets full of oranges, said the wife.
You can’t go in like that. What were you thinking?
Throw them away. He began to empty his pockets,
tossing the oranges in a ditch. I should have waited
he said, until we walked back home. Oh, well.
Janice D. Soderling has published poetry, fiction and translations in a wide spectrum of online and print venues including American Arts Quarterly, Antiphon, Anon, Rotary Dial, Raintown Review, Literary Bohemian, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, and Flash: The International Short-short Story Magazine. Poems are included in the 5-year anthology recently released by The Centrifugal Eye. She’s had a first prize story at Glimmer Train and a Best-of-Volume poem at Blue Unicorn; she’s read her poetry on the Swedish national radio, SR. She lives in Sweden.