There is a difficulty in identifying

exactly which species of fruit

are called lime.


A puzzle piece, a missing slice

is the fruit too acidic to most tongues but,

it’s a subtle language.


Though my genes may be lost in translation,

the answer lies here.

In this botanical complexity


I trace my phylogeny back through a citrus tree

and find myself at the foothills looking up

where the seed of resistance from the first pip sprouted

in the early Neogene epoch in Asia. We are the megaannum

of genetic divergence, an emergence. Still


I learn

all immigrants have a shared history.

We all come from that same seed. Now

witness yet another form of hybridizing. These genes

provide only certain insights on this taxonomy, on what ranks

above species and below family. Of what it means

to be latino. The majority cultivated

into subspecies:


oranges, grapefruit, pomelos, lemons and limes.


Can you taste the difference?


Our citrus is from monsoon-grown roots, no trouble sprouting

from the bottom of the barrel, much like my family grew

from the limited light in wooden narrows.

The past to us has been uprooted. Dispersal

is the letting go, a diaspore

from the parent plant. So we’ve placed migration

at the forefront. I come from the fates of smugglers.


My family aflock.

We ruby-throated


so red and ready

to stain, to slay and a disdain

for the unjust, just

beginning to crave

the blood-orange.


I pity the presidents and kings

who never dreamed, who never stopped to think

of the wild gorge grown before them.

I am a particular variety of lime,


I demand the truth.