I thought you would make things certain
Like a window nailed shut to the sill.

Days thread in and out of months.
People walk by.
My neighbor
Eats an orange outside my door

And in the evening I pick it up
Swirl the peels over the table
And don’t wipe it for months.


With very short poems, it’s easy sometimes to read them and see them as one complete image that flashed in the author’s mind. A surprising amount of work can go into five lines however, and that was the case with this. The first two and last three lines belonged to entirely different poems, but over the course of time I realized not just that both were about the failure of love, but also that both contained the same tone, a sense of stifled desperation (and quietly spreading grief). So I combined them and it just worked. The original inspiration was just a very strong mental picture of a woman trapped in a small apartment, left behind by love, who one day opened her door and found orange peels left by her neighbor outside. She picks them up and doesn’t throw them away.


Claire Hellar is a poet and marketing specialist currently located in Boise, Idaho. She grew up on a tropical island, moves often, and paints her apartments teal. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blue Fifth Review, The Wilderness House Literary Review, Circle, and Into the Teeth of the Wind. She writes about pop culture for Sound on Sight and blogs at coffeeandirony.com.

'Handel', G√ľnter Eich

'Dinecos', Dario Jaramillo Agudelo

'Rain', Michael Bazzett