Alexandra Citron was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since her early teens. Her poems have appeared in Mslexia, Visual Verse, Ink Sweat & Tears and And Other Poems, as well as in the Emma Press' anthology, Everything That Can Happen: Poems about the Future.
Learning to accessorise
Eighteen, tank-top and jeans, the girl from three doors down
holds court one summer on the trunk of her white saloon,
draped in python.
Cross-legged, bangles jangling, she loops
four feet of lustrous snake along her arms and waits
to see how long it takes for us to creep forward.
Wide eyed. Mesmerised: aliens landed in our neighbourhood.
Go on, you can touch him and shy hands reach
to take the inky-lacquered dare, tip-toe fingers along
dark bands glistening like moonlit rain on bark. We stroke
a rolling shudder of pulsing silk, a placid purr, black eyes
holding back a spell.
Undulating to a whispered song, she charms to summer incense
of charcoaled meat and late mown grass. Boys slow their bikes.
Fathers home in time from work pause latchkeys in the locks.
She swirls patchouli-scented hair off tendrilled shoulders,
cradling the thick ribbon of him cheek to scale,
his tail languid across her thighs.
I go to sleep those sultry nights dreaming of someday
sliding into rooms, sophisticated, cool,
smelling of dark flowers and wreathed with serpent.
The Novaya Zemlya effect
For Max and Ben
Boys, be wary of the peddlers of absolutes.
But certain things are known. Take on trust
that the earth goes round the sun. Is round.
Requires oxygen and ice and like us
a balanced diet. That it can be seen from space.
That we have walked in space and travelled
to the moon not once but six times. That
the moon controls the tides. Turtles swim
hundreds of miles to return to the same shore.
That the sun comes up the same each day
as expected. Most of the time.
That where the sun doesn't rise for months
it can seem to, a mirage reflected in the atmosphere,
stained glass glowing in a desert of polar
dusk when the sky is a mirror to what lies below
the horizon. A hope of light. A prayer.
That the mirror of the atmosphere
only works at certain latitudes, like
Novaya Zemlya, in winter, where once they say
during sun-starved days, the reflection of a polar bear
was sighted miles away. That forewarned
That what is called sorcery at one point in time
may well be explained at another. With time
and particular quirks of mind. That
pointing this out is not heresy, just as
seeing the sun rise where it is not is not
madness but a trick of light and physics
I do not fully understand. And boys,
that's okay. We breathe the laughter
of uncertainties. Sometimes there's trust
and sometimes the evidence of your own eyes
and the element of surprise.
Let Streetview take you
home for the holiday
Hitching a white arrow up Saffold Way
the trees are all too tall. It’s garbage day.
The blue door to the old house stands ajar
but should be orange and the street wider
where in summer small feet ran over searing
asphalt for a dare. The birch in the front yard’s
gone with the brown Toyota and begonia beds.
A man in shorts is heading to go in,
his chores complete. I shadow his retreat
back to the kitchen on his left. Ahead
the L-shaped room and stairs, perhaps a cat
scratching the corner of a chair. You are
outside on the balcony, let’s say,
just out of sight, calling us in from play.
Learning to Accessorise / The Novaya Zemlya Effect:
exclusive first publication by iamb
Let Streetview Take You Home for the Holiday: