CL Bledsoe is the author of the young adult novel Sunlight; three poetry collections, _____(Want/Need), Anthem, and Leap Year; and a short story collection called Naming the Animals. A poetry chapbook, Goodbye to Noise, is available online at righthandpointing.com/bledsoe. Another, The Man Who Killed Himself in My Bathroom, is
Ten Pages Press. His story, “Leaving the Garden,” was selected as a Notable Story of 2008 for storySouth’s Million Writers Award. His story “The Scream” was selected as a Notable Story of 2011. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. He blogs at clbledsoe.blogspot.com. Bledsoe has written reviews for The Hollins Critic, The Arkansas Review, American Book Review, Prick of the Spindle, The Pedestal Magazine, and elsewhere. Bledsoe lives with his wife and daughter in Maryland.
Delilah, I’m sorry your mother was born without nipples
and couldn’t suckle you until you grew teeth to chew
through to the milk. Blood can be just as sustaining
though it lacks colostrum of a certain kind. This is why
you hated your sickly formative years. Still, iron
made you hard with regret and truth. The thin bones
of yesterday molded into tear-stained cheeks which
the other chicks pecked until they found the soft spots,
in the back of the bus. Delilah, I love you more than
any father’s thunder-bolt voice could betray. Those tears
left salt tracks on your downy skin—my heart, the frightened
fawn, is so scared to brave them. Salt and sand are so close,
these building blocks—one makes taste, the other, reflection.