We couldn’t afford bats so we scavenged,
broken lengths of PVC pipes, crooked
sticks, hands, if that’s all we had. Likewise,
instead of baseballs we used pinecones, dried
cow pies, rocks. One kid started catching
frogs and smacking them into trees. We envied
his easy swing in duct-taped shoes, home-
cut hair, and worn-out clothes. None of us
were frogs so we didn’t protest too much
other than to let him always take bat when
he caught one. We hardly went to his house,
anyway, with its collapsing roof, gun-collecting,
drug-addled mom’s boyfriend. At least
he wasn’t burying cats and mowing their heads
off, diddling his sister, or telling us we’d, all of us,
never escape the burning lake we were born for.
CL Bledsoe is the author of five novels including the young adult novel Sunlight, the novels Last Stand in Zombietown and $7.50/hr + Curses; four poetry collections: Riceland, _____(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/. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 10 times, had 2 stories selected as Notable Stories by Story South's Million Writers Award and 2 others nominated, and has been nominated for Best of the Net twice. He’s also had a flash story selected for the long list of Wigleaf’s 50 Best Flash Stories award. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings, http://clbledsoe.blogspot.com. Bledsoe reviews regularly for Rain Taxi, Coal Hill Review, Prick of the Spindle, Monkey Bicycle, Book Slut, The Hollins Critic, The Arkansas Review, American Book Review, The Pedestal Magazine, and elsewhere.
Nice work, Cort. Good get, Rusty.