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

Our Beautiful Life When It’s Filled with Shrieks
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.

I like the life we make together. When you tell me to not let my blood sugar get too low, then whisper I’m stubborn under your breath when I said yes I’ll just finish this one. When I tell you to put your feet up and you decide to do some yard work instead. When we look at recipes on how to make coconut buns on YouTube. When I begin a conversation with you’ll never guess what happened and you’re already putting everything down and getting comfortable on the couch.

It’s so complicated to be on earth. In some parts of the world, some people are not allowed to love each other, and it’s ridiculous and terrible and I want to call you right now just to say I’m glad you exist.

The other day you told me it took a while before you were sure. It ached a little, the knowing. But does it matter if I got there first—everywhere I turn there’s just you, now and always.


This poem appeared in If We Had a Lemon We’d Throw It and Call That the Sun by Christopher Citro, published by Elixir Press, 2021. Shared here with profound gratitude.


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