Old Man’s Face
The old man’s face creases like crumpled paper.
There are words between the lines
but they make no sound when read. The smell
of salt. The taste of cologne and feces. His hands
scrape your arm like fingers on stained glass
as he tries to catch your attention. I am that man.
This is my face, dripping hairs, graying
in the fading light. Delilah couldn’t bring me
to the library anymore. Delilah won’t
save me. She’s got to take the kids to soccer. I
am not that man. How could I be?
The long end of day stumbles just
as it crests the hill for all to see. I am not
dead. I will not die. There’s too much to do.
Delilah, forgive me all my foolish trespasses,
the time I farted in bed and held the covers over
your head. The skin of my face doesn’t hang, it
expands, balloon-fat and soft. It fills with helium
so my thoughts drift ever upward.
The shrink asked if I knew who I was, how I got
there, so I gave directions but couldn't remember
the exit off I 40. He said a quarter
of patients commit suicide immediately
after receiving their test results,
another 6 percent in a few months. Most
drop out before getting results, many die
from drunk driving, drug use,
etc. He asked if I had suicidal thoughts, I said
no, not anymore. When I was
younger, but I walked away from those
like that time I came to visit, when
we were still dating; I left Greg sitting
in his Bronco at the airport breathing in
the smell of my last cigarette, watching me
distance myself from cheap deaths, theatrics,
CL Bledsoe is the author of the young adult novel, Sunlight, 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 published by Mud Luscious Press.He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 3 times. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings, http://clbledsoe.blogspot.com Bledsoe has written reviews for The Hollins Critic, The Arkansas Review, American Book Review, The Pedestal Magazine, and elsewhere.