CL Bledsoe

The Woman in the Cubicle Next To Me    

is crying. She’s reading something
on her screen, though I can’t see  

what. She sobs quietly, almost a breath,
reaches to wipe a tear from one eye,    

the other, motionless, staring straight
ahead. Without meaning to, I eavesdrop

through my peripheral vision. She leans
up, takes a slow drink of water, and pushes

out a rich breath. She is beautiful
in her exquisite sigh. I love her for that one  

moment, until it’s gone and I return to work.




Old men who smelled like fried chicken in white
robes stood behind a wooden altar lecturing us
in halting words about the sins of our minds,

while a pool of greenish-blue water stagnated
beside them. They claimed it held the secrets
to our salvation. All we had to do was let them

drop us into it with their shaking arms. Instead,
we dozed until the singing woke us, begged to go
to the bathroom, and ran around the otherwise

empty building. We explored every door, climbed
to the balcony looking for something worth finding
while in the other room, our neighbors smiled politely
and damned us to hell.


© CL Bledsoe


CL Bledsoe is the assistant editor for The Dead Mule and author of fourteen books, most recently the poetry collection Trashcans in Love and the flash fiction collection Ray’s Sea World. Originally from rural Arkansas, he lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.


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