Sting

For James Ward Lee

play audio –Sting

              Sometime

    the smell of lemon

        on my hands

reminds me of my father

     and of being home

  for the last time

the swollen acrid smell

     of lemons

   and the remembered yellow skin

 with its pimples gone awry

           dotting the landscape and

       chasing the perfect oval

     hull

 covering all that is possible

    to cover

        in that seasonal lifetime

   of a lemon

 dotting the rise and sloping fall

     of a hull:

   Yellow to yellow-dotted black  aromatic pore

         seeping out the blinding

      mellow

    quick, sharp breaths

of this lemon life

      a season of smelling

and tarting the tastes of things:

    water into thirst quinching ‘ades

              fish from bland sea palate

          into  a chasing, feverish rush

  of once fighting muscle

       pulling tightly against the line

       making this plate

    of bones and baked flesh

     again                                                                                             

 worth the swollen chest

       of its being here

  lemon

 the squeaky run of its juice

     of my hands

          fingers

   chasing tightly into the

smallest cut

          into the hell of broken flesh

     into the naked wounds

of being

          home

     for the last time

Home Home Home

    sometimes

  the worst of the four lettered

          words

    Home

for the last time

     with my father’s breath

   packed and ready to go

leaving his heaving

      hairy chest

    beneath his sweat soaked

         death shirt

     home

like his last words

     “lemonade” & “son”

         home

   running over me

    there–

         here–

with these lemons

bursting under my grip

spilling

    exploding                                                                                        

    crying the hot juice

  of giving in

     like my father

    who

wanted lemonade

      as his last

    throat quinching drink

    So he asked me

           to make it

   and now

      the smell of lemon

                  on my hands

    will mean

always

    that his throat is dry

  in a room

that’s just a sting

    and a step away

.

.

.

.Copyright Jas Mardis 1999 Awarded the Voertman Poetry Award and published in Our Texas anthology , Center For Texas Studies @ University of North Texas Press, Denton, TX.

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