Ian Mason

November 22, 2021

Montale’s Lemons by Ishion Hutchinson

Montale’s Lemons


My first snow, I open the pages
of Montale, the scent of iron
and light coming out of heads

of lemon trees in the middle
of an orchard where raucous boys
play, not hearing the eel-quiet laureate

who roams under a sky dappled with rust.
He comes through the gate, plucks
acanthus, unburdening himself of the city

and the classics left in his study.
Standing still, his shadow moves
to branches brushing earth,

freckling it with flame. Montale stoops
in flecked leaves, to a flickering secret,
and what could be translated

as winter fixes a spire in my chest
and my eyes go low down
with that crouching tower;

I cling to a still revolving truth:
the world is a golden calyx,
but home is a burst lemon,

a child weeping at the cane root.