The Poet

She was trying to say that we’re all dying
inside and out, walking farther than we’ve
worn appropriate shoes for. Who among us
hasn’t felt duped by the salesman for implying
his smile would come home with us? Ah,
the empty rooms fill with dust too quickly.
She dreamed about rolling around in it to put
the parts of herself that’d sloughed off back.
It’s the kind of thing the brain gets up to
when given too much time to mull. The poets
on their back covers all looking to the side
as if to say, “Did I remember to take
the chicken out of the freezer?” Making gods
out of flickering bulbs. A strange smell lingering
misdiagnosed as wisdom. There are so many
lies it’s nearly impossible to categorize them
other than by touch and sometimes taste.
The mouthfeel of love. The worn edges of loss.
Dying her hair was the only way she could think
of to hide from the bone man’s steady gaze.
Standing quiet on an elevator, hoping he won’t
try to talk about the weather. When the bell dings,
he gets off with her, follows her to her desk.
It’ll be like that, forever. Her, trying to get
something done. Him, bragging about his bass
boat, bony leg propped on her desk edge.

Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in Love, Grief Bacon, and his newest, The Bottle Episode, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and The Saviors. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael Gushue, located here: His own blog, Not Another TV Dad, is located here: 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.

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