True Citrus

By: MF Drummy

after Louise Glück’s “Mock Orange”

It is the delusion that comes first, I tell you.

Not the wild geraniums

in the untended vale.

It is the delusion that germinates,

persists, telling us

We can be happy as a couple,

spreading its strangling roots

well into our later years.

You would say of us now

I’m not unhappy with our marriage,

and that would be enough for you.

Consider, instead,

the wild geranium, whose essence

is subtle, as though it were

holding something back

out of fear or, perhaps,


On the moraine

it is easy to overlook them:

they’re weedy, close to the ground,

they do not announce themselves. 

One must make the effort

to identify them,

to kneel on the earth,

to bend close to their petals,

sinking one’s nose into their loose corymbs

to detect the discreet fragrance

that has been there all along.

What is it? Ah … sweet lemons!

Why do I love that odor?

Why such elation

that this scent

survives in our world? 

M F Drummy holds a PhD in historical theology from Fordham University. He is the author of numerous haiku/senryu/haibun, articles, essays, poems, reviews, and a monograph on religion and ecology. His work has appeared, or will appear, in Allium, Amethyst Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Emerge, and many others. He and his way cool life partner of over 20 years enjoy splitting their time between the Colorado Rockies and the rest of the planet. He can be found at: Instagram @miguelito.drummalino Website

Reflective Engagement:

This piece offers a rich tapestry for reflection, drawing parallels between the unnoticed depth in nature and the unexplored depths within our own relationships. Consider these prompts as you connect personally with the poem's themes:

  1. The Nature of Delusion in Relationships: Reflect on the poem's portrayal of delusion as the root of contentment in relationships. How does this perspective challenge or affirm your own experiences and beliefs about happiness and fulfillment in partnerships?
  2. Appreciation of the Subtle and Overlooked: The wild geranium serves as a metaphor for the beauty and truth that require effort to appreciate. Reflect on an aspect of your life or surroundings that, like the wild geranium, offers unassuming beauty or truth that is only revealed upon closer examination. What effort is required to truly appreciate this?
  3. The Scent of Sweet Lemons: The poem culminates in the revelation of the wild geranium's discreet fragrance, likened to sweet lemons, which brings the narrator elation. Reflect on a moment when a simple, perhaps unexpected, discovery brought you disproportionate joy. What was it, and why do you think it affected you so deeply?

We invite you to share your reflections and insights in the dialogue below. How do the themes of this poem resonate with your own journey towards understanding and appreciation? Let's explore together the depths of what it means to truly see and appreciate the world and each other.

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