CL Bledsoe


You Can Never Go Home Again, Even if You Find the Key

This is what breaks you: waiting
on your father’s doorstep for no
one to hear your knock. But at least
you’re not on your father’s broken
couch, the television screaming over
your better thoughts. This is what
you wanted—to be a stranger
in a life you’re holding until someone
comes back for it. Only, you’d hoped
to like it a little more. Not to lord it over
them but just to feel safe. Last time
you were here, you told your father
the trees were all dying in the pasture,
and he said he was doing his best. What
you meant was it’s not his fault branches
fall in the yard. We all hope to be missed
more, even the blossoms hitching rides
on the wind. Down the hill, water stagnates
over your old tennis shoe, fishing poles,
long-forgotten toys. The 100-year mud
once almost swallowed you, but now has
forgotten your name. The track up
from the shore is overgrown with bitterweeds.
Sometimes, life has a sense of humor.
Where you are, now, you’ll never return
from. There’s nothing left of the weight
you once pressed on this soil. The greatest
comfort, you’ll come to realize, is in that
forgetting, and being forgotten.



Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in Love, and his newest, Grief Bacon, as well as the Necro-Files novel series and the flash fiction collection Ray’s Sea World. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael  Gushue located here: Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.