“Our Beautiful Life When It’s Filled with Shrieks” by Christopher Citro

Christopher Citro


I’m doing a balancing act with a stack of fresh fruit
in my basket. I love you. I want us both to eat well.
We’re not allowed to buy blackberries anymore
because they’re mean to their workers and you
read left-wing news sites. Till when? I asked and you
said nothing. So that’s one healthy food off the list.
I’m still buying pineapples and you’re still eating them.
I guess you’ve never seen the websites about those.
Nobody in this supermarket knows that I am a puma.
This morning our cat rolled on the floor showing me
her belly which I leaned down and rubbed.
Beneath a backyard pine tree the neighbor’s cat
was eating one of our cat’s moles—at least the moles
we rent from the landlord for her. It’s so complicated
staying alive sometimes. The voices of the collection
agencies on the answering machine sound menacing.
They’re paid to sound that way and they’re not paid
much more than the people they’re menacing,
which can get you thinking if you’re the sort of
person who likes to think about that sort of thing.
Other people subscribe to adventure cycling
magazines and read about men who rode across
Turkey in the late 1800s before anything was
happening in the world. Before cantaloupes
probably existed. When you could get an honest
wage for an honest day’s blackberries. When we
loved like fierce mountain storms, with the blood
of eagles in our hearts, exchanging grocery lists
that just said you you you you all the way down.

from Rattle #50, Winter 2015
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


Christopher Citro: “In our Wegmans, they recently reorganized the produce section. Instead of long vertical lines you can meander up and down as you fondle the avocados and ogle the purple potatoes, it’s all short horizontal rows you have to constantly be turning around and heading back along. People bump into one another’s cart now. Fights appear to be always on the verge of breaking out. I’ve considered buying tomatillos for the first time ever, merely out of a sort of self-defense. I love my local grocery store. It’s where the opening of this poem is set.” (web)

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