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Alexandra Citron



the poet

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.

the poems

Learning to accessorise

00:00 / 01:46

            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

00:00 / 02:03

            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

            is forearmed.

            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

00:00 / 01:00

            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.

Publishing credits

Learning to Accessorise / The Novaya Zemlya Effect:

  exclusive first publication by iamb

Let Streetview Take You Home for the Holiday:

  Ink, Sweat & Tears


S h a r e

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