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Piece by Piece This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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today
i cried over you while i was peeling
an orange.
you taught me to cut lines through the
waxy skin:
starting at the top – at the weird, inny-outty bellybutton of the orange, pulling down gently with the peeler, making a beautiful, straight line, finally stopping at the
bottom, at the place where it was once connected to the tree. Then you would start again at the top, moving counterclockwise, taking your time.
you swore cutting it like that made the juice sweeter, and decreased the probability of vicious acid juice assailing your eyes.
i never liked peeling my own orange,
even though you had taught
me well.
i liked watching your hands, so strong and sure, gently peeling away the orange
skin and piling it neatly on the counter, stacking each section on top of the other, piece by piece.
the smell would hit me then – the sharp, sweet crispness wafting toward me. you would smile, and i would know that you smelled it too.
then you would present me with a slice of orange, an expectant gleam in your eyes.
i would smile broadly at you, thinking that it is not the way one cuts the orange that makes it sweeter,
but instead the person who cuts it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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