Candied Peels


(C) Annette Marie Hyder

I make tangerine petals and orange branches
while the moon is high in the sky,
sugared tongues sticking out on the waxed paper waiting
for their taste of chocolate, a dark that’s almost bitter
for the nectar sweetness of the former and the lightness of milk chocolate
for the strong bite of the latter. I am finding that spot between extremes
where the savor is, where the tightrope sings.

It is cold outside but the fragrance from the simmering peels
breathes hotly against the window.
I feel secretive and witchy stirring bubbling syrup
by the full bright light of the moon.
Memory serves as a broom
that I ride back to the time of the rustling groves by our house
and the neighbor’s cows that regularly escaped enclosure
to moo right outside my window.

Citrus peels are usually discarded
but they can be used to sweeten, to garnish, to put the final touch on,
to tuck sachets of summer into the pockets of winter.
Sometimes thoughts of home, of family, curl in just such a way —
bright and pithy with the essence condensed.
And I am glad for these sweet scraps, from the small things,
here in cold Minnesota.