local_library When I Was a Boy

by CL Bledsoe

Published in Issue No. 278 ~ July, 2020

I stood in the rain many times, but I never

turned into a fish. Mouth open to catch

the warm drops, I swore I could hear

the ocean when I put my ear to the bank.

But it was just mud crying to be a man.

Never let it trick you into taking its hand.

Once it leads you to the loam world, where

everything is soft and despair is too stove

up to chase you with its belt, you’ll never

want to come back. Swimming through

the thick soup of air with no particular

place to go. When the fog came,

I’d stand on the levee and call my father’s

name, but he never opened the bridge.

It was just me and the mudcats flopping

down below, the dumpgulls gorging.

They say in the big city, somebody steals

the rain before it hits the ground. We drove

through Memphis on the way to the hospital

where they told me my brain was broken.

It hasn’t rained since then, not really.

account_box More About

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: https://medium.com/@howtoeven He’s been published in hundreds of journals, newspapers, and websites that you’ve probably never heard of. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.