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Anna Citrino

ALL THE LITTLE THINGS
“Nobody sees a flower, really – it is so small – we haven’t time, and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” - Georgia O’Keefe

Everyone else has looked at the scenery,
continued their conversation, and walked on,

but Ryan breaks open the seeds
to examine the tiny whorls

curling in his palm, then scatters them
across the ground, curious

what the ants will do.
In winter, too, he searches for ice flowers

blossoming into petaled mandalas on the lake.
He walks out into the frozen fog

to gaze at the white-bearded twigs
prickling the tips of trees, and finds

the ice has woven the fence into lace.
Fireflies blink inside the pleated fields,

faint perfume exudes from a tree’s wrinkled trunk
into autumn’s gold air, wonder winds

through the forest’s leafy layers in a stream, though
the world walks on, chatting and laughing,

eyes fixed on the next destination.

WALLA WALLA, WASHINGTON

I.
“Sweet onions. Stop by and bite into summer,”
reads the roadside sign. 9:30 am, and teenagers
sit under tent shade sipping water, ten pound sacks
spread out on tables all around.
Onions’ bronzed bodies shine through the red mesh bags.
Their pungent fragrance circles fields far off into the distance,
seeps into houses while children play or sleep,
creeps under fingernails,
grows into the skin,
drifts into dreams.


II.
“Dig down into the earth and see if it makes you happier,”
the farmer tells his son, hoe held in callused hands.
Slowly turning up the dark earth, he digs,
strikes with steel-sharpened corners at the hard earth.


III.
Pull back the curtain.
There, in the morning’s raw light, the onions
peer up out of the soil—balls of pearled life
waiting to be lifted out of dark soil.

IV.
Eating, working or walking the fields,
peel back the days year after year,
layer after layer,
life after life,
laughter or tears,
and it is onions—
onion all the way down
to the slender green germ
connecting sun
and earth inside the tiered white globe—
the center of existence.

 

SLOWER THAN MOLASSES

“You’re slower than molasses in January,”
my mother told me as a child,

and she was right. In my fifth decade,
living in a country where clouds

blend into the grey, and objects melt
into the monsoon heat, I’m learning to draw—

buildings with wobbly black lines,
faces with distorted noses, legs bent so wrong

they could never walk—each form
a suggestion of what it hopes to become

in several more years of practice,
or several more decades.

I’ve made plans for lessons, too, with the clarinet
I left for years on the closet shelf, but recently

pulled out, remembering the music a stranger played
once long ago under a tent in the savannah,

watery notes drifting through the grassy plains
stretching into the night. There’s still time,

isn’t there, to learn to bend my breath
like a reed in the wind?

I’m learning another language, too—filling my mind
and mouth with wonderful sounds.

Sentences slide across pages in stories from worlds
I’ve never known. Letters slip under my fingers

and speak. None of this is perfect.
Every line, note and word are wrong.

It’s slow work making molasses—
all that stripping away of leaves, cutting and crushing,

but I’m ready now, January molasses in the winter of my life,
days boiling down to their essence. Sugar crystals removed.

What’s left now is the flavor and the mineral,
and all of it is good.


Anna Citrino received her MA from the Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont, and has published in various literary magazines including, Bellowing Ark, Calyx, Earth’s Daughters, Fine Madness, Flyway, Kalliope, The International Journal of Wilderness, and Sojourners, among other journals and anthologies. She is also the chapbook author of Saudade, (Finishing Line Press). A native Californian, Ms. Citrino was born in eastern San Diego County, though she has lived in various countries since 1991--Turkey, Kuwait, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and currently, New Delhi, India where she teaches humanities at the American Embassy School. A lover of scuba diving, bicycling, and travel, Ms. Citrino writes often about place, listening for the voices that arise from the location where the inner journey greets the outer journey. Each year, Ms. Citrino returns to her home in the redwoods in Santa Cruz, California where she loves being out of doors under the open, blue sky.

 

Fiction
John Chandler

Nonfiction
John Moir

Poetry
Barbara Bloom
Anna Citrino
Danusha Laméris
Dan Phillips
Alyssa Young

Plays & Monologues
Wilma Marcus Chandler

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