Citizens — By Laura Lee Washburn

My dog looks a little bit like a fox.

He would like to skulk alone

with no other fox—or dog. His

ears and pointy face and bushy tail.

He does not walk on his toes.

We leave that to the actual cat.
I have learned the fox wants prey

that doesn’t fight back. My dog

runs to the crate after chasing

the cat, a four foot race before turning

back to his safe crate den home shake.
I have watched a fox from the window

scratch at his fleas like an ill-treated dog.

By grace we live in the world

where a squirrel travels under the branch

where we see the birds scatter in leaves.
We find our home in grass and flowers.

We find our home in the trunks and needles.

The rich earth loams up to our noses.

The cut grass surrounds the brain.
I live in a house with nut trees at the window,

with goldfinch hanging at sweet gum balls

where the owl can be heard and the sparrows call.

My dog looks a bit like a fox. My cat

curls up at my leg. They make curves

of warmth alert in ears. We could all be

so human if we never remembered the news.

~ Laura Lee Washburn

Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

Guest Editor Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Maine Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, words (on pages), Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, and in 150 Kansas Poets.  Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. She is a founding member of the Astra Arts Festival in Independence, KS and was director of the visiting writers’ series at ICC. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

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