Citizen to Citizen

Laurie Saurborn Young

Citizen, in my haste to reach you I skipped


Past the attic fan


Drawing in night’s cooling air.


Past my mother, tossing


Gin-soaked ice cubes to the dog.


There are times life is beautiful


Many years after the facts — traveling far from their origins —


Make a way back to you.


What to do with a couple of little girls


Who want to be Daniel Boone


Except let them go on?


Sometimes you have to climb a hill to get to rock bottom.


To get to my sister and me, tumbling into the creek until our father


Yells us back up the bank.


Even then, we believed in conversion.


Believed a rocky bed and the sound of water


Could save us if they wished.


Tonight I mistakenly chill the red wine


Because the bottle makes it look white.


The dog rests her chin on the gnawed sill,


Worrying over the soul about which it knows nothing.


Dear Citizen, when they ask if you repent, say What?


Reach for the wheel and slide over.

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