The Proper Way to Peel an Orange

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December 22, 2021 by The Citron Review

by Exodus Oktavia Brownlow


Nobody cares about the orange, let alone the proper way to peel it.

The wealth of the orange’s skin is a lot like the wealth of the people who pass by it everyday. And like the wealth of the people’s skin, the wealth of an orange’s skin is only as good as it looks on the outside.


Because it has as many problems as the people’s skin, it’s often passed up for the blueberries beside it in the bowl.

The fabric that folds over its flesh is an oily, and textured thing where all the little pots and pores settle as piercings. The beauty that it sometimes gives is the scent that escapes and scathes across the kitchen air.


When the woman who used to be something to the man picks it up, she presses her fingernails into it instead of herself where it leaks a red-less blood.

When the man who used to be something to the woman picks it up, he holds the orange to his ear to hear it—the soft stripping, the pops like bones being broken into their rightful place.


Baby is the only one who cares about the orange. To him, the orange is a lily flower with pulpy-plump petal fingers.

In his palm, it fully blossoms for him to pick.

There’s three, five chews left before it juices all out.


Exodus Oktavia Brownlow is a Blackhawk, MS native. She is a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University with a BA in English, and Mississippi University for Women with an MFA in Creative Writing. Exodus has been published or has forthcoming work with Electric Lit, Chicken Soup for The Soul, Louisiana Literature, F(r)iction and more. She has been nominated for Best of The Net, Best Microfiction and a Pushcart Prize. Her piece “It’s 5am-ish, And My Father Tells Me A Story From His Time in Singapore” will be included in the anthology Best Microfiction 2021.




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