New Year's Day, poem by CL Bledsoe

One of the junkies in the back­seat spoke
up to ask, “Should there be so much smoke

behind us?” A wall of gray poured from the car.
I took the first exit, won­der­ing how far

I could make it before the explo­sion, no flames
yet. I found a Wal Mart, parked and tried to wake

my ex who just want­ed to stay in her seat. I gave
up, went in, and asked them for help before the blaze

took out some­body else’s car. They wouldn’t even call
the fire depart­ment. Mean­while, my pas­sen­gers had all

been kicked out of the store for try­ing to make a pallet
in an aisle, pulling pil­lows and blan­kets out. Now that

I’d stopped dri­ving, flames poured from my hood. I stood
and watched it burn. My ex took my hand, asked if I would

go inside and buy her some cig­a­rettes, since she was banned.
It’s kind of fun­ny, she said. I came back to find a man

spray­ing out the fire. I went out to him and he warned me
to be care­ful if I drove the car, since the battery

had melt­ed from the flames. Do you think it would turn
over? I asked. Well, no, just be care­ful. That acid burns

pret­ty bad, he said. It can melt through most things.
I wait­ed out the night on the hard lob­by seats,

while the junkies slept, won­der­ing when it was going
to get funny.

bledsoeCL 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.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.