• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 11
Image by

The truth in three parts

In all the world, there exists only three species of citrus
Mandarin oranges from the Far East,
Pomelos from Southeast Asia
And from the subcontinent, the beloved citron

All the rest—tangerines, lemons, grapefruit, limes—are hybrids,
Molded, and remodeled, bred and changed, evolved over time
Traced back to those three fundamental ancestors
Like the way reality splits white light through a prism
My Truth in the vibration of every atom
Your Truth spilled in half sentences and things unsaid
And, illusive, objective, indisputable:
THE Truth, to which we both lay claim
They say the truth is bitter and sometimes sweet
Like chocolate, memories, and key lime pie
It will set you free or drive you mad or break the spell
A balancing act in three parts.

From the Miocene era on land that would be called China
The fossils of citrus plants date back 20 million years
From a tree whose great, great, great descendants
Would be called Kumquat, Tangelo, Clementine


The truth in three parts

The 17th century orangery equalled status and class
With delicate citrus and ornamental plants from afar
Wintering under glass in Russia, Belgium, France
For noblemen, lords and ladies to indulge

In my grandfather’s Christmas stocking
Was a single orange and a stick of peppermint
The same for all his siblings, children of immigrants
Missing the Sicilian blood oranges of home