CL Bledsoe is the author of two poetry collections, _____(Want/Need) and Anthem, and a short story collection called Naming the Animals. A poetry chapbook, Goodbye to Noise, is available online at www.righthandpointing.com/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 three times. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings. Bledsoe has written reviews for The Hollins Critic, The Arkansas Review, American Book Review, The Pedestal Magazine, and elsewhere.
He had this to say about the beautiful, if haunting, poem below:
"Reynard in Love" is part of a series chronicling a time in my life when I was going through some medical issues. The reference to being a 'motherless child' arose from the medical issues being genetic. Winter, starvation, homelessness, all of these themes reinforce the question of the future--each could lead to death or life. But they are all past tense. The narrator in the poem reminesces about a time when he lived in this liminal state. The troubling thing about it is that he misses certain things about it.
reynard in love
Snow smothers the hopes of the soil. Foxes smell
their own starvation in the scant stand
of hardwoods, the abandoned barn the other side
of the hill. Whiteness strokes the ruddy fur
of their faces. It tastes of copper and pain, bursting
the eardrums with its silence. Snow is beautiful like death
is beautiful—stark and intractable. But no,
there’s nothing to be admired in desperation, the stomach
digesting itself in unrequited need. Desire appeals only
when given parameters. The squirrel must get his nut
or else lose the ability to taste the things of this world.
And then who will feed the fox? Watch him trudge across
the stark face of the winter morning, each paw print
like a desperate lover’s stroke. He is a motherless
child, den he get down on his knees to pray.
The red tint of his cheek is not exuberance. He cries
not for love’s meat but simply for meat. The fox doesn’t pen
sonnets between meals, complain about abstractions.
I will stand in my dining room, Christmas morn,
sipping cider, and watch him ache across the desolation
outside, thinking; I once ached. I once starved, my need buried.
I am that fox. So far mama from you.
Enjoy "Reynard in Love"? Try "The Mess the Assassination Left" by William Doreski.