Landis Everson


Lemon Tree

A tree that grew in the Garden of Eden
a tree of innocence called
the Tree of Good and Evil. It was harmless

as opposites are in balance. It was also
the taste of innocence before it is betrayed.
When God removed the wall

he gave the lemon thorns and bitterness because it had
no hostility.
It is a taste we want most to subdue. It asks
to be left alone.
We use it with fish and tea. We sugar it.

Valentine, Valentine

Valentine, valentine you arrive
in a town car with a chauffered envelope,
scattered pieces of you enrolled in schoolyards
like a recess of paper vanity, litter, old
with red-rimmed "loves," red-rhymed lies in lace.

The verses come, rising as easily as long-stemmed snakes in
bloom where swamps settle down and drowse
by dawn, a night of secrets slid out of drawers like knives nesting, a choice of chimes and slums overrun
by bejeweled heartbreakers. What a lovely
winter, almost skipping February.