Northwords Now

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Lemon Groves, Murcia

by Jon Miller

In the red dawn small birds rise
from the lemon groves
with morning in their beaks.

Its scent rises on the rising light,
prickles the noses of farm dogs
setting them to barking.

It startles the throats of cockerels.
Goats hang out their tongues
to sweeten their breath.

The housewife dreams its scent
on her pillow, raises her hands
to rinse them in air.

A campesino glides along,
his bicycle headlamp picking out
constellations among the branches.

The schoolgirl chatters to it
hanging about her shoulders,
whispering its tang of womanhood.

In the distant cities villagers
are stopped in the street to have
their lemon-scented hair inhaled.

And at all the tables on that morning of small birds rising
the yellow bells are held above plates
and wrung for their bitter twist

as high above, the aviator finds his goggles awash
and Icarus falls, wings lemon-heavy,
into the grove of a million tiny suns.

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