“Ode to Oranges”

Original poem by Joel G. Burke

Ode to “Oranges”

The first time I walked

with a girl, I was fifteen.

November. Her hair shivered

crisply, her breath, a circling

hummingbird that cannot land

on a flower

trapped under snow. But

she kept warm,

so weighed down under

her jacket, my own.

Both of us ruddy

from cold, each suppressing

our own trilling


Her hand felt unreachable

behind that warm and fuzzy

gauntlet, but mine was bare

and finally getting cold,

so I took hold anyway

and stuck them both in

my left pocket.

In that moment she

was a splendor, like the

flowers that only bloom once

a year. It was no

difficult task to imagine



Translated by Joel G. Burke

Oda a “Oranges”

La primera vez que caminé

con una chica, tenía quince.

Noviembre. Su pelo temblaba

con frescura, su aliento, un colibrí

dando vueltas que no puede posarse

en una flor

enterrada con nieve. Pero

ella se quedaba calientita,

pesada adentro de

su chamarra, la mía.

Los dos colorados

del frío, cada uno suprimiendo

el trino en el pecho,

los latidos.

Su mano pareció inalcanzable

detrás de ese suave

guante tibio, pero la mía estaba desnuda

y por fin me dio frío,

entonces así su mano

y puse las dos en

el bolsillo izquierdo.

En ese momento ella

era un esplendor, como las

flores que solo nacen una vez

al año. No era

nada difícil pensar en

la primavera.



Joel G. Burke 

Joel G. Burke is a third-year Literature/Writing student at the University of California, San Diego. He began working with Alchemy during the Fall 2017 quarter and quickly grew fond of everything about the journal. He began his writing career in high school and has developed much upon his writing since then because of the various courses and mentors which have helped him to improve and prepared him for working with Alchemy. In his free time, he mostly enjoys playing, listening to, and writing music; but also hangs out with his friends and family.”