We wake like bees and peel a lemon.
Then there is a glowing.
Do you want to eat it wedge by wedge?
Pull the pith off, keep the seeds.
Lift a blue crayon, ring
each other’s mouths in blue.
We all live under a rule—
a lemon law for what’s beyond repair:
our very first lovers doubled over
in grief like singers slumped
over tiny guitars. Now I remember
keeping wallet pictures,
feeling at times a curious despair.
Like somebody’s father
I lay in the room where nobody is
and read in Reader’s Digest
how lemon rind can help keep herbs
moist through winter, how
their cellular walls need to breathe.
Rind can also give a person
hives, horrible flying and dying
dreams in which a dead soul
won’t leave the body until
a hunger develops. The bottom
of the feet. The face. Hands.
Where on your body would
you hide the last lemon
on earth? Lie down. Show me
on your dimply limbs.

 
 

Christopher Salerno

CHRISTOPHER SALERNO is the author of four books of poems and the editor of Saturnalia Books. His most recent collection is Sun & Urn, selected by Thomas Lux for the 2016 Georgia Poetry Prize (University of Georgia Press, 2017). Previous books include ATM, (Georgetown Review Poetry Prize 2014), Minimum Heroic (Mississippi Review Poetry Prize 2010), and Whirligig (2006). He is a recipient of the Laurel Review Midwest Chapbook Prize, the Prairie Schooner Glenna Luschei Award, and a New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowship. His poems have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets series, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Fence, Boston Review, and elsewhere. He is an Associate Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

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