Leave a comment

October 2, 2017 by The Citron Review

by Jennifer Battisti


Outside, the rain against the playground is heavy and decisive. Small rivers are forming in the basin of the water fountain. We will not line up today. The blacktop, slick with afternoon showers, tells us we will stay in our blue plastic chairs.

The monkey bars that stain our palms with the scent of sour pennies now house small globes of water, pendulous magic, before dropping them into the sand below and releasing the smell of fresh earth. The red dodge balls stay huddled in their net, stacked in the closet with the crisp brown and green paper that makes trees grow in the corners of the classroom, felt birds glued to the leaves. The tip of my young thumb throbs in that third-grade way, while my face burrows into the flesh of the inside of my arm, until blackness blots out the primary colors and textures.

Rain makes choices.

Our small village of arithmetic and careful cursive is set aside for Heads Up, Seven Up, a game for rare days when water is attentive—every rock, stem, branch equally smothered. I feel awkward doing the exact thing my classmates are doing, as if I am not made of bones and fears or that the order of mine, so bright, cannot know anyone else’s.

My eager thumb waits, for recognition—to be chosen in a sea of other thumbs. My greedy thirst for affirmation is a large hole in a small bowl. And if the quick heat flashes against the craving curve of my opposable pieces, I will feel solid in my body—here for a moment, clenched by the metal arm holding my desk, its hollow belly echoing back my existence. I will curl my thumb into the clasp of my pointer and ring fingers in celebration. I will hide my smile in the stacked and coiled seams of my arms.

At some point, wanting becomes too turbulent a force and I learn to hustle the game. If I position my eye to see without being seen, I can catch a glimpse of a sneaker or Mary Jane, and place the shoe with the student. Belonging will secure me to what seems contained and right. Cheating this rain game is the requirement for approval—the being chosen inhibits my own choosing altogether. If I win, I’ll be one of the seven to stand at the front and be a chooser, but this will leave me stranded, like lightning with no rod. The choosing will not be as satisfying as being chosen.

Not until much later, near the center of my life, after the drought I’ve placed on myself turns to a deluge of worthiness capable enough to spilt the molecule of necessity, will thirst go much like it came—demanding and definite.


Jennifer Battisti, a Las Vegas native, studied creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. Her poetry has been published in the anthology Legs of Tumbleweed, Wings of Lace, as well as 300 Days of Sun, the Red Rock Review, the Desert Companion, Minerva Rising, and elsewhere. In 2016, KNPR interviewed her about her poetry. Her forthcoming chapbook, Echo Bay, will be available in 2018. She is the secretary and workshop facilitator for the Las Vegas Poets Organization.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Snow on brush in desert

IMAGE CREDIT: Jill Katherine Chmelko. Protest Road, Winter. 2019.

🍋Our Tenth Anniversary


    Cheers to ten years of celebrating the short form.


🍋 Instagram

Don't cry...or maybe do. A deeper look at our saltiest moments with Denton Loving's "The Topography of Tears." Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collection Crimes Against Birds and editor of Seeking Its Own Level, an Anthology of Writings about Water. His writing has recently appeared in @lunchwithironhorse, @kenyonreview, #ChattahoocheeReview and #TheThreepennyReview. #amreading #creativenonfiction
US President George Washington rode a horse, of course. So we are recognizing this President's birthday with our Winter Issue story, "The Farrier, by Lisa Tuininga. Lisa Tuininga writes fiction and creative nonfiction. She holds a BA in English Literature from DePaul University and has studied at Seattle’s literary center, @hugohouse. Her work has appeared in @belletristmagazine , Adanna Literary Journal, @sharkreeflit, and others (under pen name Lisa Regen) and she is working on her first novel. #amreading #amsubmitting
Whether you celebrate V-Day or you're anti-V-Day, we all have laundry to do. Kris Willcox's work is in publications including The Cimarron Review​, @beloitfictionjournal , and @PDXReview. #amreading #flashfiction #litmag
Dive deep into some #flashfiction with @elpattee. Emma Pattee’s writing has been published in @nytimes and @carvecommunity and is forthcoming in @marieclairemag. She was a 2019 AWP Writer-to-Writer mentee and leads the Portland chapter of Women Who Submit. She is currently working on a novel.
We review the debut Cathy Ulrich collection Ghosts of You (@okaydonkeymag) We're over the moon with ZEST. #amreading #flashfiction
We're ready to read your Flash, Micros, Creative Nonfiction and Poetry. Submit at

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: