Our Lady of Lemons

Artemis of Ephesus, the goddess,
was covered with breasts, like rinds of lemons
are covered with bumps of neon yellow.
None of her breasts were quite Olympian,
not like the Hooters waitresses are now,
or Playboy bunnies. No, they were all small,
tight, practical, productive, but so dense,
their weight could nearly break branches from trees.
Breasts rippled over her torso in lines
and layers, overlapped. In Italy,
her statues spout myriad milky streams,
cascade over rock and moss to gardens.
I’ve canned more jars of salt preserved lemons
than we could eat in a lifetime. Lemons
start out firm and taut. I thumb the green nub
off the nippled ends, and slice, cross-cut,
remembering they were once petaled, pert.
Over weeks in salty jars, they transmute
once more, this time into soft, dense, jelly.
Golden, salty sour, translucent as eggs
or caviar, with a texture bubbling
on the tongue. What should I do with them all?
Tagine? Tabouleh? Polenta? Split
pea soup? With apricots and garlic? With
olives and thyme? They are so strong, they could
overpower almost any flavor,
any food. Artemis was impatient.
She would have hunted the rabbits with dogs,
cooked and eaten them. Perhaps with lemon.


2 responses to “Our Lady of Lemons

  1. Still thinking about this one – breasts and lemons – very nice interplay of imagery – artmemis nice way to bring them together

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