Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three poems by CL Bledsoe

Three poems
by CL Bledsoe

February 24

Twice a week when the afternoon sun
hits the chicken wired windows just so,
the bell begins its thrum, herding
us to session, where the wall-plate-
faced session leader tells shrill-voiced
jokes—like the one about the guy
couldn't decide if he was a wigwam or a teepee.

Tourniquet likes to hide in my pants for her nap
so she shoulders against the zipper, pushing
the fabric out whenever the session leader speaks.

I dreamed the dogs returned
for the sticks the orderlies put in
to replace my guts, which disappeared
long ago (that's why they call me
Tree-Guts, Bark Belly, Twig and No Berries).

One of them jumped me, pushed
me over another who'd gotten behind me,
and then both started digging at the dirt
of my fallen form until Tourniquet appeared
and flushed them. I woke, covered in

brimstone, paw prints on my forehead,
dander sneezes clogging my nose.
Tourniquet stood on my chest, sniffling,
fur bristling, mouth full of fangs dripping
onto my dusty belly already sprouting twigs.


February 25

I am learning to count lies. The trick
is spotting the cloud scrubbers trying
to hide the vapor trail. Something in my jaw
wants to kill me. They put it
in there like celebrity marriage. You don't
understand; it's pushing its goo
head through the gap between
my teeth. It doesn't like what I've
learned. This is how they work:

fourteen feet by twelve by eighteen by
twenty and a half by seven by forty-two.
I measured it once. That makes it right.


February 28

Woke in the folded middle of the night, struggled
to roll from the crease and follow the sound
of gagging as poor Tourniquet wheezed
her dying soul out. Held her like babies
are held in ads for diapers. Her little jaws thrust
wide, teeth showing, vicious and dull, tongue
wagging. I turned the sink up to lukewarm, hoping
the steam might help, banged on the door
with my foot, and the orderlies didn't even laugh.

I stroked her carpet fur, soothed
her wide-eyed terror as best I could by humming
Delibes as we danced. Finally, she sank
two perfect teeth into the meat of my thumb,
and filled her lungs with the blood.

I shall bury her in the rose garden. I think
someone famous said that, but I don't
know what it means.

Author bio:

CL Bledsoe has two collections: _____(Want/Need) and Anthem. A third collection, Riceland, is forthcoming this fall. He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine.

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