The Bank

C.L. Bledsoe

Dad said there was no future in farming
so he sent his sons off to bag
groceries, stock produce, flip
burgers while his brother and the bank
carved up the farmland and kept
the white meat. We knew fish
and cattle, rice fields and soybeans.
We knew jeans and family, sunup
to sundown, the names
of the people for whom we worked.
My brother put in thirteen years
on the line before being replaced
by an elsewhere of lower wages,
looser laws. I filled a desk for nearly
a decade before standing in front of one
myself. Once the bank owned our land,
now we don’t even have land
and yet the bank still stands,
its heel on our throats.

C.L. Bledsoe is the author of two poetry collections, _____(Want/Need) and Anthem. A third collection, Riceland, is forthcoming later this year. A chapbook, Goodbye To Noise, is available online. A minichap, Texas, is forthcoming from Mud Luscious Press. His story, “Leaving the Garden,” was selected as a Notable Story of 2008 for storySouth‘s Million Writer’s Award. He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings. E-mail: clbledsoe[at]

Two Poems

C.L. Bledsoe


Crouched above me like a gazelle
dipping its neck to drink—your thighs—

a yellow cream. I leaned up,
clamped my mouth to your sex.

It gave you pause. Your head
lifted and froze and you didn’t make a sound.

It’s good that no matter the weight of days
that press us apart,

I still know how to make you quiet.


4 Short Poems About Sex


My fiancé’s roommate
on one of her last nights
in the apartment
told us a story
about her father
who fed his dog sausages at night,
then, once, he got drunk,
went to piss in the trees
behind his house
after feeding the dog,
and the dog, smelling the sausage
on the man’s hands, enveloped
his penis, in its mouth, not doing damage
other than surprising him.


When I was a fifteen,
the exterminator, in the process
of spraying the house, burst
into my bedroom, while I was

I stared
in his eyes for one moment
and he closed the door, but then
flung it back open a second later,
entered and proceeded to spray my
bedroom, while I sat rigid
covering myself with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

I’d stolen
from my brother,

until the man left, moments later
leaving the door slightly ajar.


Poor old Wesley got off work early
went home and found his wife
entertaining a gentleman caller.

The next day Wesley told his boss
not to send him home early anymore.


The last night I sneaked into my father’s office
to call sex lines with Lawrence, my only

friend, on two way, listening to dirty stories, never realizing he
was doing what I
was doing until we called one

talking about a couple on a beach, pouring sand
in the girl’s ass; I started thinking

how much that would hurt, rub the skin
clean off. Then I heard Lawrence
breathing heavy.



C.L. Bledsoe is an editor for the Hollins Critic as well as Ghoti Magazine. He has work in Margie, Natural Bridge, Eyeshot, Fiction Warehouse, Story South, Hobart, Opium, Stickman Review, Nimrod, Thunder Sandwich, Word Riot, and Snow Monkey, among other places. E-mail: mariastatic[at]