Damocles in the Rain

by CL Bledsoe

The boy gifts skin from his palms
to the hemp rope of a tire swing
as his soft hands betray him. Above,
a groove wears through a creaking branch,
dipping, weakening. The rain serves
to soften the harsh rope, to rinse the blood,
to save the branch a little while longer.

There is beauty in the broken
limbs from other swings, the dingy yellow hemp
stained rusty, the fallen leaves trampled under
cheap sneakers, though it’s hard to see
when something hangs between the eyes
and the light. Only a mother could love
the smelly boy-thing smeared in rubber. She was,
herself, once young and unwanted. We are,
all of us, betrayed by that which we trust; his nose
leaks, his belly grows. Someday, his mind will eat
itself as hers is, but now, the rain is cool. His mother
hasn’t called him in, yet.

CL Bledsoe is the author of two novels, $7.50/hr + Curses and 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 www.righthandpointing.com/bledsoe. Another, The Man Who Killed Himself in My Bathroom, is available at http://tenpagespress.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/the-man-who-killed-himself-in-my-bathroom-by-cl-bledsoe/. A minichap, Texas, was recently published by Mud Luscious Press. His story, “Leaving the Garden,” was selected as a Notable Story of 2008 for Story South’s Million Writer’s Award. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 5 times. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings Bledsoe has written reviews for The Hollins Critic, The Arkansas Review, American Book Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Prick of the Spindle, New York Quarterly, and elsewhere. Bledsoe lives with his wife and daughter in Maryland.

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