There’s no secret to how the world is made:
it isn’t. It grows from the leavings of holy
box turtles, flightless origamis, snufflings
lost behind elder doors. Tears and Tvarscki,
Chopin and Coffins. My daughter’s goodbyes
that settle into my heart and never ease out.
It’s okay if you don’t believe me; I’m a notorious
liar who is probably just trying to get into
someone’s pants. Probably, honestly, my
own, which seem to have shrunk. I’m not
saying you aren’t as special as you think
you are, but I’m not not saying that. We’re
all the villains in our own stories looking
for a hero to defeat us before we destroy
it all. The world was left here by a nerdy
scientist who fell in love with a cloud shaped
like his father. Hair cuttings swept into a dustpan
and forgotten after the comets came. A bad
idea with little planning. This explains most
but not all things. Such as what my neighbors
are doing that sounds like a pile driver?
An advertisement for paprika-infused
albatross. A list of shrubs all grown from
the forgotten plans of the person you were
supposed to save. If I were to say I ache like
a horse smelling the grass beyond the fence,
a nesting bird dreaming of the sky, something
I can’t name but would gladly trade for store
credit, would you believe me? What if I
complimented you and your mother? Let’s
pretend we know what any of this means
long enough to fool the rubes. It’s probably
all the clouds’ fault; they take in as much
as they can, until they become real, and then
they have to let some things go. It’s a lesson
in impermanence for all of us.
Let them settle in me, a phone line
drooping between tree corpses,
chatter somewhere above my ears
that smells of spices I can’t name.
I don’t mind choking on feathers
if it makes something in me rise,
a lightness in the stomach, a dark
calm in the throat. I’m not
the kind of person who throws rocks
at placid waters, anymore. I like to watch
it as it flies with the seasons. Only
I can hollow these clunky bones,
climb up somewhere worth jumping
from. And when I jump, it’s on me
to forget to fall. I’d rather cheer
on the starlings than envy the crows.
It’s a choice to start singing: hey you,
passing in the wind, come rest
beside me for a little while.
Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in Love, and his newest, Grief Bacon, as well as the Necro-Files novel series and the flash fiction collection Ray's Sea World. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael Gushue located here: https://medium.com/@howtoeven. He’s been published in hundreds of journals, newspapers, and websites that you’ve probably never heard of. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.