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June 22, 2022 by The Citron Review

by Christopher Ankney


The unwatched hot iron, I don’t trust it
not to lay on the blouse, ignore

how it burns its entire being on top, 

Grandma once said loving another
can be a sin, didn’t even blink an eye

as she talked about her nightgowns 
sewn shut across the bottom, 

the unlocked suitcase tossed out
a bouquet of closed flowers

on her chaste honeymoon.
Where was desire in those sheets?

My best friend wanted to kiss me
but I was not sorry for either of us

when I told him no. It was not rejection
of another, but an acceptance of my own

being. It shouldn’t be a sin to want 
to use our senses on the world. 

It shouldn’t be a sin to turn them off.
The dress we want against our skin

deserves its quiet permission
to be left unaltered.


Christopher Ankney’s debut, Hearsay, won the 2014 Jean Feldman Prize at WWPH and was a finalist for the 2015 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, Fledgling Rag, The Dodge, and the anthology, This is What America Looks Like. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with his wife and two sons. He is an avid half-marathoner and traveler. He is a Professor of English at College of Southern Maryland. Read more at


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