Definition

The little boy asks his family what a lemon is. The mother, mostly apron, says oh I use it in my cooking. Also to sprinkle on fish. The father, who is rumpled like the evening paper, says, Ha! A lemon is the car your mother’s brother sold me. The boy’s older sister is mostly boydrunk and says she uses lemons to bleach freckles off her face and also to blonde up her hair. The boy then asks his grandmother what a lemon is. She is round-shouldered and puckerskinned. She only comes downstairs once a day now. Other times, she is in the attic, where she lives. A tiny window, a tinier view. She says the sun is a lemon. Sometimes a slice, sometimes a wedge. Each day it fits differently in the window. And each day a little less yellow than it was the day before.

 

 

 

 

Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in various publications, including Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, Passages North, and many others. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press), The Way of the Wind (AdHoc), and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books). Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction), will be published by ELJ in September, 2021. She lives in NYC.