¿Cuánto entiende un limón?


How much does a lemon understand?

Surely not the hand

that wonders its curves,

that knows how to name its zest, pith, and the sour sea inside,

that contemplates peeling, squeezing its tears onto a taco

or palming its balm into a homemade window spray

or pulverizing its flesh with dead eggs and crusty sugar

until it is a pie,

that hand that knows

the angles to cut and the order in which

to serve that pie to the people that dot the table’s circumference,

and has memorized the pronunciation of the possible compliments to the chef

that live in one single language

in a random corner of

languages, a particular leaf

tickling at the summer wind’s lash-flutter

as it brushes each twig namelessly on its way to the edge

of earth.

Certainly the lemon knows nothing of languages,

which means, in a humble way, the lemon knows


that languages can’t catch –

The wind

having passed the tree, splashing into crepuscule

of chiffon and dissolving

into space. And what is existence?

The lemon does not know.

It merely understands.


Note: This poem is inspired by an actual option on a beginning Spanish quiz I took on Duolingo earlier today. Needless to say, it was not the option Duolingo was looking for (it wanted me to tell it how much a lemon costs, not how much it understands.) But I found this question more compelling.

Image credits in order of appearance:

By Paulo Valdivieso from Lisboa, Portugal – A lemon in a lemon tree in a pateo, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46458687

By Hans Thoma – Koller Auktionen, 24 September 2011, Auktion A158 Lot 3203, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16140891


2 thoughts on “¿Cuánto entiende un limón?

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