My boss is leaving as soon as she tells me about all the herbs in her garden. First, she’s got to weed, she says. I ask if that’s a euphemism, and she either doesn’t hear or doesn’t care. She’s got parsley sage I ask about rosemary. She says it’s already done. And basil mint oregano tyme, she says she’s got tyme she’s got tyme. I laugh, but her eyes widen like a buffalo at the cliff’s edge, running too fast to stop. You’ve got a choice, then. You can try to stop and be pushed over, or dig in and jump.
THE ANGRIEST WOMAN
The angriest woman I ever knew believed more in miracles than her neighbors. The pants of the world offended her with their extravagance; all that blue that could’ve been brown. There was nowhere that couldn’t be walked to if you would only wear the right kind of shoes. She warmed herself over the book flames and hoped the ashes would teach the plants a thing or two about getting real jobs. The heat death of the universe was better than it deserved. Tears were good for washing the eyes. Her eyes stayed on the outstretched hands, forever reaching to pull her into their plates. Her pockets, long since rifled. This was the kind of love she understood; of what value is a thing without a price tag? ACCOUNTING
One evening, with no one to talk to, I sat down to capture a history of my loss. I began with the broad strokes, mother, who died but lingered, an unhappy life slowly fading from memory until only a body remained; father, who’d hidden in his bottles until his life was set in its grave, then taken up crossword. The women whose bodies offered a comfort their spirits couldn’t. Plans whose starts I clung to but made no real effort to complete. So many faces stretching back into shadow. I sat there, feeling no benefit from my tally, until the day had died into night, and realized this was one more wasted evening I would never see again.
Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in Love, Grief Bacon, and his newest, The Bottle Episode, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and The Saviors. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael Gushue located here: https://medium.com/@howtoeven His own blog, Not Another TV Dad, is located here: https://medium.com/@clbledsoe 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.