Robot head

Two Poems by Christopher Citro

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Birds Come in Two Basic Sizes

This summer passing away today.
I must have done something wrong,
the last time I held an animal
small enough to fit my palm and
let it slip away, beyond my ability
to remember. I’m like one of those
robots you used to see on TV
who fail at some adventure and
back into a corner to dismantle itself.
There’s just a head slumped to one side
on a pile of shiny tubes and wires.
If someone were to come along
and believe in me again, I might
wake, wrench myself back together,
and cheep, What’s next, chief?
Cold air has crept in among our lives.
The sky, when we remember to look,
full of quivering strings pulled southward.
Up close you see individual feathers.
I saw one once wattling in a crowd,
with its long neck bent out of shape.
He was moving with the others as if
he didn’t even know. He’d gone
though some adventure in his past. And
when the trouble ended he kept moving.



Fungus Beneath the Bark, Oil

Sunlight invisible until it lands on your teeth.

One root easy to yank. Another leads to a box elder.

Clouds, like they’ve been punched, over the golden pines.

I burn handwritten notes I’ve saved, once, maybe twice a year.

When I reach for you and you reach back.

One wet blueberry dropping from your mouth to mine.

Powder become stone become powder.

Listening to someone sweeping their floor over the phone.

Inside me: bird shells, saffron bulgur, a handful of steel marbles.

I see the water from here. It’s slate blue out there.

All those wet angry heads. Let’s fly together.

Bean tendrils finding the trellis.

It’s awful quiet since you went away in my brain.

Discoveries today: mint mouth, socks inside out, try not to think.

A finite number of fairy tales. That’s a lie. You can relax.

On some section of ocean, where no eyes rest, something’s floating.




Christopher CitroChristopher Citro is the author of If We Had a Lemon We’d Throw It and Call That the Sun (Elixir Press, 2021), winner of the 2019 Antivenom Poetry Award, and The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy (Steel Toe Books, 2015). His honors include a 2018 Pushcart Prize for poetry, a fellowship from the Ragdale Foundation, Columbia Journal’s poetry award, and a creative nonfiction award from The Florida Review. His poetry appears in Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, Best New Poets, Conduit, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Iowa Review, Narrative, Pleiades, Ploughshares, West Branch, and elsewhere. Christopher lives in Syracuse, New York.

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