Women in Refrigerators

Someone stole my breakfast and wrote
a poem about it. Someone stole
my time and put it all on red. Nothing
is sexier than the void. Sorry. Anything
can be understood if you’re willing
to accept the conclusion. The most evil
you will ever see comes from good
intentions. You just have to understand;
the Earth can be moved if you stand
in the right place, but that place
might be a Dumpster. Climb in. No one
puts up statues for the guy who lets you
merge, the time you gave your beer money
to the woman with the scarf on her hair
outside Safeway who said her children
were waiting with her mother at home.
My daughter told her she’d try to come
back with her piggy bank. She was gone
when we came out with change. Compassion
is about the singular tense. The specific.
I hate humanity but I love a person.
For every spurt of growth, someone had
to hurt, to be left behind. Enlightenment
sits on a mountain of skulls. All of us
are just trying to get through the day
without hurting too much, remembering
the time someone said something nice
before they left to go who knows where.

Banana for Scale

Let’s say you’re tired. Haven’t slept well
in months. Sleeping pills don’t work. Warm
milk under the pillow and reading showtunes
in bed. Two a.m. every night, a man
comes to the door to ask if you’ve seen
the light. No. Your eyes were closed. The only
light is inside you. Not what he wants to hear.
He’s never gracious in his exit. Always kicks
the dog statue and steals a branch from
the family tree. Somebody above you
has a grudge. Somebody thinks you’ve been
getting too big for your britches. Or maybe
chaos has a new penname. The doctors say
they can’t help you. The witches are too
depressed to pick up the phone. You’re trying
to make it till spring. If you can only see
the sun on your patio you might be able to forgive.

Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than thirty books, including the poetry collections Riceland, The Bottle Episode, and his newest, Having a Baby to Save a Marriage, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and The Saviors. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.