Christopher Citro

Spoiled Persimmons Crash Against the Opening

It's cold outside but I want some ice cream
because I am alive which is basically Pac-Man.
Ghosts are coming for me down the hall which
are my worries. I wonder if the guy next door
lives in a house with ice cream and anxiety.
He's always got loud motors running. He's
building great things or taking great things apart.
We climbed a hill in the woods. I spent most of
it thinking I might die and trying to breathe.
At the top the wind came so hard it froze
the sweat against our bodies. You have beautiful
skin. You looked like a bird made of skin
with all those clouds beneath you. Then we
came back down and ate salmon. We had
strawberries for dessert and focused on moving on.



Water Falling Down

A mind is not a kitchen
cupboard but there are jars
we set carefully back there
then forget and it would be
a death wish to eat. Why
did I read the article about
a peppery milkcap bloom—
taste so sweet and require
liver transplants afterwards.
The journalist saved the
18-month old for the end,
and now I feel mauled by
the bear with the year
across its eyes always
standing behind me hoping
I won't notice. I hope that
too. That jar of kimchi in
the fridge. Don't open it.
Can kimchi go bad? The top
is puffing up. Ok, deal.
When next I cook a steak
I'll serve horseradish instead.
I'll try not to think about the
growing weight of evidence
against charred meat. Like
someone badmouthing a
friend of mine. In our hypo-
thetical universe you're fine
moving back into the house
you grew up in. I can't imagine
my screams but they'd be loud.
Summer thunder down from
the pines along the cliffs
out back, slamming against
my bedroom windows—felt
like friends. I keep that next
to the lentils, each little green
pillow the face of a boy in
the books I read spread
across the bed as it rained.



Christopher Citro is the author of If We Had a Lemon We'd Throw It and Call That the Sun (Elixir Press, forthcoming), winner of the 2019 Antivenom Poetry Award, and The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy (Steel Toe Books, 2015). His awards include a 2019 fellowship from Ragdale Foundation and a 2018 Pushcart Prize for Poetry. Recent poetry appears in Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, The Missouri Review, Gulf Coast, Best New Poets, Pleiades, Narrative, Blackbird, and Alaska Quarterly Review. His creative nonfiction appears in Boulevard, Quarterly West, The Florida Review, Passages North, and Colorado Review. He teaches creative writing at SUNY Oswego and lives in Syracuse, New York.