My grandfather has a face just like
My father’s—the same small nose,
Thin lips, square chin—they both direct you
Even when you’re just driving
Out of the driveway.
When we were small, my sisters and I
Visited grandfather at his small house:
We loved Great America’s carousel,
The hot California sun on our pale
Alaskan faces, but most of all we loved
Grandfather’s lemon tree.
We’d never seen fruit on a tree—
Just in supermarket aisles—and we danced
Around its roots, trying to touch
The perfect sun-yellow lemons
Heavy on its branches.
Hearing our oohs and ahhs, grandfather
Sent us home to Alaska with a big bag—
Crumpled brown paper—full of lemons;
He never said he loved us, but I still
Remember the smell of those bright lemons
On those dark, cold days—and the taste
Of tart-sweet lemon meringue pie
All that long winter.