the minnesota review is pleased to feature each of our nominees for the 2013 Pushcart Prize in the coming weeks. This week we are excited to bring you Christopher Citro‘s “Sword Swallowers in Transition.” Please check back next week for more on our nominees and their work.
Sword Swallowers in Transition
What we do is get together in a room
and just sort of talk. We get into issues.
Last week, we discussed how we felt about
string theory, but really we weren’t talking
about string theory at all. One man burst
into tears when someone mentioned the tenth
dimension. He began relating this lost
memory—he was four years old, at a carnival
with his father. A man in a lion suit
pranced around, his fur matted
with sawdust. He smelled of stale sweat.
This lion-man ran up to him
waving his paws about. The boy
burst into tears, but the lion kept at it—
probably he couldn’t think of anything
else to do—the sobs coming in
gasping waves. His dad ran to a stall,
grabbed a pirate sword, and stabbed
the lion in the armpit. He fell dead
at the boy’s feet. A lady watching
from the candy apple stand clapped.
We clapped, too, then elected this guy
head of the group.
“Sword Swallowers in Transition” was first published in issue 80 (Summer 2013) of the minnesota review. Christopher Citro lives in Syracuse, NY, and his poetry appears or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Ninth Letter, Subtropics, Third Coast, Salamander, Cream City Review, The Hollins Critic, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. His creative nonfiction is forthcoming in Colorado Review. He received his MFA in poetry from Indiana University. Visit him at christophercitro.com.