by Danielle Cadena Deulen

They loved each other, but a lemon tree
grew between them—no solace in the way
it leaned, as if to whisper from her yard

into his, across the coyote fence,
a promise of something greater. The fruit
was a luminous yellow, triumphant

in the branches—at night, he'd stare
at the tree's dim body, almost
indistinguishable from the darkness,

and imagine climbing into the V
of its trunk, swallowing the lemons whole,
his belly full of light. She'd quiver in

her bed, dream of her arms turning to wood,
snakes like ribbon over her radiant
throat, lemons ripe in her hair. They remained

hidden from one another, but gathered
the fallen fruit, rolled them on their bedroom
floors, severed them into halves—radial

as open compasses—ate the brassy
bitterness of their skins. Isn't this how
it would taste: a sour citrus sprinkled

with sugar, salt, the bitter aftertaste of rind?
Or do you place an apple in her hand,
a past sweetness in each crisp bite?

please note: art by Marc Chagall


  1. Gorgeous. You really know how to pick them.

  2. "a sour citrus sprinkled"....love that...smiles.

  3. A phenomenal poem, mysterious, mystical...

    A a bit of Chagall never hurts either.


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