Citrus Cell

A child whose name I can’t say sits beneath the lemon tree.

Silt-clouds billow under fish
thinking with their skin
in the pond around which
paths for the occult
are hardly visible under rival strains of ivy.

What did you see, little fish? Clock turns from 3:33
to death wish to the lemon tree.

The waves are all of history in a moment.

Moses, throw down your staff, and lo
it’s a serpent. Put your hand inside
your coat, and behold, it is flesh.

Lydia, Lydia, Tuesday, Rocket are the names
of my daughter’s make-believe horses. I taste the lemon,
but break the tree.

Does the lemon taste me?



The children need space. One hits the other.

The wireless breaks, opens
to the street’s
beings toward death.

What worked for them
might work for me—
sentences, friends
so ritualistic, they are their own ritual

My daughter says she’ll break
my blood. I look her
in the eye. She’s stronger than me

Am I ever myself to myself, if I’m not merely
remembering myself

is how you see the cedar

By you, I mean me, further in



Rob Schlegel is the author of The Lesser Fields (Center for Literary Publishing 2009) and January Machine (Four Way Books 2014). His third collection is In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps (University of Iowa Press 2019), selected by Brenda Shaughnessy for the Iowa Poetry Prize. With the poets Daniel Poppick and Rawaan Alkhatib, he co-edits The Catenary Press. He has recently taught in the MFA Program at Portland State University, and currently teaches at Whitman College.