Oranges - Gary Soto

Created by Mark Ashworth

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Oranges
Gary Soto

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The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.

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December. Frost cracking
Beneath my steps, my breath

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Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow

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Night and day, in any weather.
A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling

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At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across

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A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore. We

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Entered, the tiny bell
Bringing a saleslady
Down a narrow aisle of goods.
I turned to the candies

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Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted -
Light in her eyes, a smile

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Starting at the corners
Of her mouth. I fingered
A nickle in my pocket,

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And when she lifted a chocolate
That cost a dime,
I didn’t say anything.

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I took the nickle from
My pocket, then an orange,
And set them quietly on
The counter. When I looked up,

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The lady’s eyes met mine,
And held them, knowing
Very well what it was all
About.
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