The Lemons of Lands End

By | 1 July 1998

It was worth it, forty pence
for the Cornish Express.
(the broadsheet, not the bus) in a grocer shop
Lands End way.
And the wait, so long; for the bus
would never come they said,
no one here had seen it.
A ghost in the drizzle machine.
We gypsied on through fog
that kept us hypothermic,
but did not listen, and sung
that name, Lands End
which drew us on, what we headed for.
Unknown residue of North Atlantic light
not far from here. As west as you could go.

Meanwhile we’d wait, get dry, that sour shopkeeper’s
rather-sell-you-nothing face
not big on trust; but did relent, and sold us
what we never knew we missed –
lemons, half a pound; the acid
scurvy cure: citrus six pack,
imports in a battered mildewed box
going nowhere else,
thick and bubbly skinned
desiccated by iridescent spore,
coral bloom behind a stack of Daily Telegraphs.
Warming in our hands.
What they were
what they had always been, sweeter
than they looked.

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