Skip to content →

Under the Lemon Tree

Not rain, but fine mist

falls from my lemon tree,

a balm of droplets in green shadow.

Six years now my mother gone to earth.

This dew, light as footsteps of the dead.

She often walked out here, craned her neck,

considered the fruit, hundreds of globes

in their leathery hides, figuring on

custard and pudding, meringue and


But her plans didn’t work out.

The tree goes on unceasingly—lemons fall

and fold into earth and begin again—

me, I come here as a salve against heat,

come to languish, to let the soft bursts—

essence of citrus, summer’s distillate—

drift into my face and settle. Water and gold

brew in the quiet deeps at the far end

of the season. Leaves swallow the body

of light and the breath of water brims over.

My hands cup each other the way hers did.

from Antidote for NightFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2015
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Marsha de la O Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.