Orange Juice

Orange Juice

There goes a man carrying a two-gallon bottle of bright orange non-orange-juice orange juice, the kind that imitates two-gallon milk bottles but with no name, trademark, or commercial to say it’s there, it’s available, it’s a dollar-fifteen.

And there he goes past my car carrying this thing which must be heavy in his chapped hands and weary eyes with claw marks and yellow sand looking up at the rare rain of an Austin May day afternoon almost evening and its grayness, and a lynch mob of a cloud delivering on its promise.

And later he’ll say what a mess in Spanish to his wife, and the kids will drink their sugar sacrament and sleep off their malnourishment and later Daddy will stay up counting his change and counting the days until better days.

And later I’ll creep up beside my own cardboard cutout children for whom I delivered through a tunnel mass of love and tissue and the desire to save the unsalvageable and ask them what they want for dinner and they’ll say (not looking up) they’re not hungry or they’re not hungry for anything I have or anything I’ve given.

And isn’t that always the case? Isn’t hunger a perpetual state? We’re all just immigrants in this place living from reality check to reality check, waiting for the rainmaker and the rain and the love we lost and the love we made and the better days when less was more than plenty and plenty was never far away.

— Erin Passons, 5-2014
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