Oranges and Young Love: Gary Soto

March 29, 2008 at 9:09 am 4 comments


My daughter Amanda shared this poem with me this week.  Gary Soto’s poem captures such simple innocence.  I hope that my girls will find someone who will show them such thoughtfulness and respect in the future. 

Gary Soto – “Oranges”

The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.
December. Frost cracking
Beneath my steps, my breath
Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather.
A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling
At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore. We
Entered, the tiny bell
Bringing a saleslady
Down a narrow aisle of goods.
I turned to the candies
Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted –
Light in her eyes, a smile
Starting at the corners
Of her mouth. I fingered
A nickle in my pocket,
And when she lifted a chocolate
That cost a dime,
I didn’t say anything.
I took the nickle from
My pocket, then an orange,
And set them quietly on
The counter. When I looked up,
The lady’s eyes met mine,
And held them, knowing
Very well what it was all

A few cars hissing past,
Fog hanging like old
Coats between the trees.
I took my girl’s hand
In mine for two blocks,
Then released it to let
Her unwrap the chocolate.
I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tracy m  |  March 29, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    I love the last line, so so much.

  • 2. Marilyn Hansen  |  March 29, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    I love Gary Soto! I never had a boyfriend that cute.

  • 3. Jen Hill  |  March 29, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Evan and Gary come pretty close, and I bet David does too! 😉

  • 4. Zach  |  September 5, 2008 at 6:27 am

    we read this poem aloud in class and i loved it!


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