“this makes you stronger”–An Unassuming, Intense Poem About Oranges, Half Inspired by a Real Event

Hello!  I hope you’re ready for this poem today.

So the lines are longer than  usual–they don’t actually fit on one line on my computer.  I provided spaces between the lines to differentiate.  🙂

Also, this poem only uses dashes for punctuation.  It’s more of a stylistic choice, but if you think it’s distracting, let me know with a quick comment.  I’ll edit it with better punctuation and re-upload it for you.

This poem is actually inspired by real events.  One time I helped an older woman pick oranges up off of the Walmart floor, after she spilled them.  People were staring, and I was the only one helping her.  She was rather friendly and good-natured, and happy to have my help, going as far as to give me a hug after the oranges were back on the display.  While picking up the oranges, we made pleasant small talk about my schooling and her family.  All-in-all, it was a nice social encounter.

This happened a couple years ago, but I was thinking about it today.  So I decided to write a poem about it, because why not?  Of course, something went wrong along the way, as per usual, and this poem happened instead.  😦  Sorry.  Let it be known that all other aspects of my poetic rendition of this cute anecdote are fictional.  (Mom!)


greeting a stranger with a hug near the produce—the oranges have spilled over from their

regular cage onto the floor—you were the only one to help her pick them up—

oranges roll away and make old women cry—when people don’t stop staring at

weeping eyes—when people don’t offer to lift an orange off the ground—they don’t

ignore—they only look—which is worse?—rolling oranges—someone kicked one

neglected in the corner—produce out of the cage—

genuine gentle greeting near the gross grey gate—give the woman justice


untaxed by those that are truly living—sometimes a hug can fix more than what we

pretend to notice—you don’t know what that stranger is going through—smiling on a


whim never hurt the stranger you passed on your way to the produce—

it’s not like you’re incapable of kindness—never know who needs it—

the oranges are rolling—juice spills onto the floor—footsteps trotting—the oranges are

hurting—being treated like doormats despite a stranger’s panicked care—scarlet

orange juice—when did these oranges become blood?—blood oranges made

under footsteps and fire—maybe that woman saw herself in

the orange juice reflection—don’t stare too long at the red puddles—not like she did—


fingers and families and flesh and fruit can all be found—but nothing is free to stay

a whole piece—time turns tables and hourglass sand—the fruit juice will rot into

makeshift blood—orange juice that stains clothes with blood orange tears—you squeeze the

ignored fruit in bare palms—juice runs between your fingers into a chipped plastic cup she

lends to you—and you drink—the woman smiles—pulls you into an embrace right before the horror hits

you—yelling through the tears on a stranger’s shoulder—you realize that wasn’t a smile


—this makes you stronger



So there you go!  I hope none of you go drink orange juice after reading this.

To be honest, I didn’t have a meaning in mind while writing this poem–I just sort of made it to be interpretive.  I like when my art means something different to every person. 🙂  It makes me happy.

Thanks for reading!  It really means a lot to me that you took time out of your day to look at my poem! 😀

Have a lovely rest of your day!

3 thoughts on ““this makes you stronger”–An Unassuming, Intense Poem About Oranges, Half Inspired by a Real Event

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