Lemon Writing

by Phoebe Anthus

What is man that you are mindful of him?
We, squeezing a too-broad name,
distillation down to swallowable size.
Little drops like lemon that sprout aches
we can’t describe.
Squeezing your too-broad name,
curl it tight, tongue against clef,
showing our understanding like sunken cheeks,
still vaguely long to push back out to
irreparable vastness.

What is man whose knuckles dig rind?
Frantically painting with little words,
nodding knowingly, as if you were no mystery,
in a private panic because out of the mouth of babes,
we feel you bursting back
from the bite sized bit we could cram
inside our tidy narrative.
Watch you softly disappear from the script we had so neatly set,
leaving a hole larger than life.

The rind is ground dry.
The page is rippled
as if nothing but rain had ever happened.
Perhaps nothing has—
Perhaps the rippled white
means less absence, than mystery,
and for now, perhaps absence is
abundance for what are your high thoughts?
What is man to them?
How mindful and visited from the mouth of babes—
Oh glory above heavens, how excellent is thy name!

Phoebe Anthus is a stubborn artist with her head not so far into the clouds that she cannot notice the solid, sensible things as well.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

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