We left behind so much, most of it
forgotten until some random evening,
after the fighting, when we’d gasp—Oh!
the potholder shaped like a pineapple.
We’ll never see that again. Trucks
passed us as we watched through
the barbed wire. One would stop, we’d
get on, and drive by other faces watching
through the wire. The evenings were
warm, awash with the smell of sweat
and other things we didn’t name. This
was what we’d wanted. They reminded
us each night as we arranged our pallets.
If we’d wanted something different, we
should’ve done something different.
The definition of insanity is something
like that—we all knew what it meant,
but none of us could remember the exact
words. Probably not even something
you could dance to, somebody’s Dad
said. Those closest made a show of trying
to remember how to laugh. Of course,
we remembered music—they pumped
it into our heads all day to keep us
social. Every song sounded the same
which was how we wanted it. There were
times when someone got a look in
their eyes or a strange way of walking.
We all knew what it meant, but none
of us wanted to be the ones to get
the guards’ attention. When you set
off an explosion, there’s no telling
where shrapnel will go. That was
on one of the posters we passed on
the way into church every Sunday.
CL Bledsoe's latest poetry collection is Trashcans in Love. His latest short story collection is The Shower Fixture Played the Blues. His latest novel is The Funny Thing About... Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter and blogs, with Michael Gushue, at https://medium.com/@howtoeven