This is a Lemon


Oh this? This is a lemon. My tree fruit. I climbed to get it. Black and white bears climb. I taught my daughter to climb as well. Humans think we sit mostly. But we roll and we tumble. We can be clumsy, and sure, we like to eat, but we’re also very fierce. I had two babies. One baby ate the other baby. Though my love for my baby was very strong, I still wanted to eat her for eating her brother. I named her Shēngcún. She likes the lemons that we find in the trees.

A long time ago when I was young I fell from a tree and hurt my back. I spent a very long time thinking about trees and falling while staying on the ground. Then my mother was eaten by a crocodile because we were too close to its swamp. I didn’t think about it in the moment, but before I knew it I was up very high in a tree. I looked down only once to confirm whether my mother got away. She did not. The crocodile didn’t seem interested in me at all. I found my way from tree to tree until I felt that it was safe to climb back down.

When I was taken I didn’t have a chance to run. I was hungry. Starving, is what the humans kept saying. I was very tired. This is how I met my mate. He was a gruff panda. Never a kind word to say. But the humans positioned us in a way that made sex impossible to ignore. We were our only options. They kept placing us in tight quarters. They practically put him inside me. At the time it was all very distressing but then I had my babies growing. Then my babies lived out in the world with me. Then there was only one.

This lemon is what I remind Shēngcún to chew when she wants to clear her head of this world. If you bite down on its insides the tingling sensation that spreads to the outer portion of the jaw is euphoric. This is like being chased, where you want to escape but you also don’t want to stop running. Your jaw tingles, and you press your tongue deep into the base of your mouth to find some fluid reserve to combat the tartness of the fruit. I tell Shēngcún this all the time. I tell her this is how I find my bliss. This is how I remember to forget.