I grew up learning which lemons were sweet enough
to eat plain & which ones to lemonade or daquiri,
or that the best candied peel comes from their cousins,
citrons, painted from Van Gogh’s palette as he worked
haystacks or sunflowers. Golder. Warmer, somehow
than the circus-trinket yellow of a fully ripe Meyer.
After reading Takamura’s elegy, now all lemons
are about Cheiko, how the fragrant oils colored
the air around them as she bit into the fruit & braided
a moment mystical—her vision clear, memory spotless.
That scrape of rind & pith against enamel. That perfume
inhaled. Then Cheiko retreating, back into the place
where her memory held her captive & a fresh coldness
became another seed of something she once knew.