What I’m Left With

Christopher Citro

Second thing I did this morning
was run naked into the backyard
to chase a squirrel from the feeder.
I know none of this matters. Trick is
work the knots out, use your elbows
when your hands get tired. Mom
would walk on dad’s back. I’d
walk on both of them, grasping
the rocking chair for support,
pause a moment for the Almond Joy
commercial. You acquire a certain
vantage standing atop your parents
lying on the living room carpet. Their
hearts pressed to the low pile, face
to one side and a bit red, making
these oohing and aahing sounds.
This morning, I got right up to
the feeder and he still hadn’t jumped.
I smacked the side then one small
awake part of my brain said rabies
to the other and I lowered my arms.
I’m naked in the backyard
morning of the birthday of
our nation. Sun like hot
mouths over every inch of me.

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.