Christopher Citro and Dustin Nightingale
Where There Are No People for No Music I Hear Music
This tree is just a tree. In the evening after supper, we clasp hands like clay in a riverbed beneath the branches. We see fists and biceps in the sky and take comfort from that. Let's go this way and look. Sherbet, orange juice, briar cuts left untreated. A film playing in another room we're not sure we should enter. The bad concert in our heads and the ticket stubs like confetti. The love letters pressed with irons between ribbons in a cedar box we like to think of as our chest. It fits beneath the bed. It makes it so we can go outside, see things, be seen. When we unclasp our hands, they become two ears that fall to the ground and start sniffing the earth for information.
The Scraping of So Much All Our Breaths
Sometimes we move around and we stand on the street corner with bandaged hands in our pockets. When we see someone we love, we smile instead of wave. And those hands, a newborn chickadee, peppery milkcaps, vintage shaving kits and crumbling plaster—these filaments fit easily inside a ribcage. Red lights reach down at us. Soon we'll be surrounded by free and constant wi-fi. The air a soup of I love you where are you don't leave me. I'll be standing here exactly where I was. I want to breathe. Like any other human but to do that I need it in writing how to break your heart. The cure for right now is I know I'm not the only one who feels like this I can't be.
Isn't This Nice the Way We Stay Awake
A voice explains the name each month makes the moon. Starting with blood or whatever is the opposite. In one version there are weapons taped beneath all our chairs. In another, raspberry ices with wooden pips carved by hand. And then the rest of the world just floating in the ocean until we woke up. It's late. It's getting later. And then it gets early. People will tell you the calls of whales were once audible across oceans. You just have to be underwater and a whale. They'll lean in when they say that. Some of their elbow meat will invade the space of your elbow meat.
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 2018 Pushcart Prize for Poetry. He lives in Syracuse, New York.
Dustin Nightingale is the author of Ghost Woodpecker (BatCat Press, 2018). His poetry has been or will be published in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, new ohio review, Cimarron Review, Portland Review and decomP. He teaches at Central Connecticut State University and lives in Hartford.