After Surviving
by Salli Berg Seeley

the death of his Spleen, the septic corrosion
of his Gallbladder, and the 2nd Heart attack
of his life, my dad eats
an orange over a flimsy, white
paper plate, under
greenwhite fluorescent light.

His dark eyes spark again and
he smiles and grunts, grateful,
greedy, and breathless,
he has no patience for parts, he bites
into the heart of the fruit, juice
and pulp catch on the stillblack
whiskers of his unshaven cheeks
and chin. He can’t
get it in fast enough,
the air, the fruit, the air, bright
with the perfume oil of the rind.
“Good,” he grunts, “it’s good.”

And there he is, again.
Alive. Again. Alive.

PAINTING: Sunrise by George Stefanescu (1966).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem details a moment of joy when I watched my father devour an orange as he emerged from life-threatening illness. It is a bittersweet good memory.

Berg Seeley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Salli Berg Seeley writes poetry and creative nonfiction and participates in live storytelling events in Chicago, Illinois, where teaches Writing and Literature courses at DePaul University. She believes that poetry saves lives. It has saved hers many times.