CL Bledsoe

Avril Frisson

The world has a way of taking care
if you let it. The deer’s shag
come winter, the wastefulness
of cities that feeds multitudes.
Serendipity is real. Even the teeth
of the fox are a blessing to the rabbit
if she’s strong enough to close
her eyes. Why ask which is the fisherman,
which the bass; this fish
you cannot treat in a pound.

The Absence of Field
[After Mark Strand]

It’s more being able to stomach the blue-footed
boobie dance, avoiding headaches and insomnia,

keeping the crusty old man from supplanting
child-eyed questioning, than an Icarus flying

too close to his computer screen. Mark, the field
will always be green, regardless of which crayon

one uses to color it. I don’t have to tell you that.
I am trying, I am trying to draw a house in that field,

but it always comes out as a leaning square with x’s
for windows. Someday I’ll live there with curly-

haired bushes sprouting apples, a spiked, smiling
sun. Someday, I’ll get the damned thing right.

The Peter Principle of the Heart

It’s difficult for the grass to keep its head
when it comes to fashion. Misshapen trees
frozen in back-bent arcs—lest they touch
someone else’s fire—shed leaves like money
wasted adding letters to one’s name.

The evolution of the lawnmower
and the lawn shows us life is dangerous
for those who strive. Astroturf my heart
so I don’t have to keep sniffling out my
Saturdays learning the same lessons.

Delilah, I can do this. I may not know how
to fly, but my osteoporosis makes my bones
hollow as any bird’s. And I can learn how to fall,
better, how to land, even, without making a mess
of everything. The trees smell like rotting fish
and somebody seems to think that’s beautiful.
Everything makes my head hurt. You don’t
understand: I don’t understand any of this.

What Living was Like

There were processed foods, sugars sweeter
than anything found in the human soul, super-
iority over those around us. We questioned

everything as though answers mattered.
Money was something that happened
to other people. Back then, body smell came

and went. Sometimes, we could stop smiling.
Sometimes, we wondered what it would be like,

CL Bledsoe's most recent collection is Riceland, and his most recent novel is Man of Clay. He currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his daughter.