It isn't easy being orange, yet oranges are my favorite. The tree in my in-laws' back yard, and how good the juice tasted that first Christmas. Dead now, like his mother. It isn't easy being orange, small and round, and thrown like a ball by other kids on our block that summer, unwashed, unsupervised kids who probably couldn't afford balls, kids I wasn't permitted to play with, and how I later dated one of them.

Rochelle Ratner
ROCHELLE RATNER is a poet, novelist, and editor. Her e-chapbook, Tellings, has just come out on the site. Other books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and thirteen poetry books, including  Practicing to Be a Woman: New and Selected Poems (Scarecrow Press, 1982), Someday Songs (BkMk Press/Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City, 1992).  An anthology she edited, Bearing Life: Women's Writings on Childlessness, was published in January 2000 by The Feminist Press and appeared in paperback in January 2002. A new poetry collection, House and Home, will be published by Marsh Hawk Press in Fall 2003. A fuller biography, and links to works on the Internet, can be found on her homepage: