Her cleavage is rising with arched ridge
from its narrow grove

of gift-grade Indian River grapefruit,
swollen over the black rim of her dress.

Shoulder-to-shoulder, squished into a cold booth,
she sips her Tequila Sunrise

while I sit holding a straw above my
Vodka Cranberry as it drips slowly,

like sugary rain from a canopy after a storm.
A man slithers into the seat across from us

with sharp shears of metal for hands.
She listens attentively to his

ethical concerns with research and industry,
but branched around my thigh

her fingers drop citrus seeds—
grown in subtropical climates for their sweet fruit.

The man leaves and I cease suckling
the orange slice from her empty Blue Moon

to draw her tiny hand towards finger-painted people
on street corners, park benches, and the Underground.

She asks about my boyfriend,
who is drenched in abandoned apple orchards

in the Santa Cruz mountains, an area known
for high-quality, flavorful fruit,

and I wonder why she taints her nights
with my unmade promises while

feeding me sunshine, harvested into exquisite juices
foaming from split-open navels.



"'The Orchard Between Us' was inspired by phrases from various gardening articles, lemonade bottles, and visits to the neighborhood pub, The Underground. My goal was to highlight the grey areas found in both relationships and sexuality through a narrative that is mundane and nonabrasive."

Lauren Page is currently a DVM candidate at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. If she's not in the library you can find her hiking on the Appalachian Trail or curled up with her cat, Chicken. Lauren was a runner-up in the 2014 Steger Poetry Prize and received the 1st place Creative Writing Poetry Award from Virginia Tech's English department in 2015.