A Kind of Spring

The best time to fall in love

is when you share your greatest fear

with someone who isn’t listening.

There’s a decent chance that

will become your newest

greatest fear. There’s no point

in letting it shift to anger; who

do you think will listen to that?

Close your eyes and run as fast

as you can into oncoming traffic.

Whoever stops to save you, marry

them. If no one stops—let’s be honest,

no one will—at least you’ve

made good time home. When someone

talks about the weather on an

elevator, don’t believe them until

they offer a ring. There are spies

everywhere. When your heart stops,

it probably means you’re dead. Don’t

worry. All winter, your joints

have ached with chill. When summer

comes, you open your windows to

sneeze at the world. There’s war

outside, but no one calls it that. If they

do, consider baking something for

them. The brown haired men with

accents all call you sir, and the women

snap at their children to make way

when you pass. Smile. Say something

soothing. Step into the mud. If you can

think of a way to feel better about all

this, of a way to stop the meanness

of the heart, please let me know.  

Honeysuckle Vine

A honeysuckle vine grew down

the ditch wall, choking the bracken

in the corner below the road. We’d


clamber up the debris and washoff

to pick the flowers, taste the drop

of sweet, more taunt than meal,

then slide our muddy jeans down

to the bottom. Sucking steps took

us over to the road, to play in the pipe

that ran under. If you were tall

enough, you could walk it, hands on

one wall, feet on the other. They

told us it was dangerous, what if

it collapsed under the weight

of traffic? When they tried to send

us home or to school over the bridge,

we said but you said it’s too

dangerous, what if the road collapses? 

Writing Spider

It was black with yellow stripes,

or maybe the other way around,

in a big web by the overgrown


back door we were scared of.

The legend was that if you spelled

out a word in stones nearby, it


would copy it into its web. Hence

the story about the needy pig,

though I always preferred the rat.


We started with Fuck. When

that didn’t take, Shit. Maybe

this was a puritanical spider,


so we tried Butt. Inside, the living

room was quiet because Mom

was dying in her bed. The light


faded until Dad dragged in,

slurring his steps and bitching

about the lack of dinner. After


we peeled potatoes and put them

on to fry, I snuck out in the cool

of the porchlight and spelled Help.

CL Bledsoe is the author of twenty books, most recently the poetry collection 
Trashcans in Love, 
the short story collection The Shower Fixture Played the Blues, and the novel The Funny Thing About… He lives in Northern Virginia with his daughter and blogs, with Michael Gushue, at https://medium.com/@howtoeven 

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