Nude With Oranges



Henri Matisse, Nude With Oranges, 1951


The night before the big decision, did Eve endure a restless sleep? Did she dream that soft, fat oranges toppled onto her head, their sticky juices gluing her eyelashes together? Did she dream that Adam put an orange peel in his mouth so that when he smiled he looked like a monkey? I wonder if she fashioned the waxy orange leaves to cover her nakedness, embarrassed in the same way we get embarrassed when we dream about showing up to class in our underwear. Did she toss and turn on a bed of citrus, certain that whatever decision she made the following morning would change the arch of humankind forever? Did she want to crawl inside of an orange, cushioned by its pulpy flesh, and melt into the soft pillows of sweet instead of facing the inquiring snake? Did she wonder if she could better attain salvation curled inside the heart of an orange than she could toiling outside of Eden?