Solo, by CL Bledsoe

Those were better times for everyone
I knew. The saxophone screamed

from oiled fingers saying something
I can’t remember. Snow came in the winter

and left when it was no longer wanted.
Even the rain had a job, which was to remind

us that nothing dies as slow as the sadness
of teenagers. I’m lying: I never understood

what the saxophone was saying, the reason
our hair was so afraid of our heads, the true

purpose of shoulder pads. Bodies piled up
under the streets. I kept my windows up

to avoid the smell and hung those little green
trees on the rearview mirrors just like everyone.

They weren’t all dead yet, was the secret
I was afraid to learn. Hands extended, parched

throats begging for help while the microphones
laughed. Someday, they’ll carve a dollar sign

into a mountain. At least it will be honest.


CL Bledsoe is the assistant editor for The Dead Mule and author of sixteen books, most recently the poetry collection Trashcans in Love and the flash fiction collection Ray’s Sea World. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter and blogs at


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