By C.L. Bledsoe
Before the snow came, you picked
a sweater from my closet,
slipped it on without a word.
I knew it would replace me—
my smell, my shape—until you
finished grieving and threw it
like I thought a spurned husband
might crash in. You had so far
to go. I joked you could stay
if the mountain roads shut down,
but I knew we’d failed and you
weren’t coming back. We walked to
the parking lot. I watched you
drive away. The fat flakes fell,
obliterating the sky
It might as well have been tattooed on my forehead:
it was the kind of store I’d always been embarrassed
to go in, even still, we ordered online. Mango
wood—I didn’t know they made tables out of that.
It cost more than anything I’d ever owned except
a car, which is why I wanted it. We bought it
with a store credit card, paid it off before they charged
interest. That kind of thing helped us get old people
credit when we paid too much for a new car. Only poor
people haggle, after all. I hauled the beast around for years
after the divorce, too big for any apartment I’d ever have.
With each ding, each gouge, I’d repeat the mantra:
it’s a soft wood, that’s what makes it special.
C.L. Bledsoe is the author of a dozen books, most recently the poetry collection Riceland and the novel Man of Clay. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter. He blogs at clbledsoe.blogspot.com.