Tony Mancus & CL Bledsoe

Maybe, Maybe

I knew I'd never be happy, but I hoped
for a cat's judgmental tail swish. A breeze
that knows too much. A table of contents
that forgets its titles. I might be wrong.
It's a lifetime of gray, then, while evenings
tease a night that never comes. Outside,
someone whispers a name I don't recognize
and the light in the sky remains fixed in place
for way too long. We're not good at being
blunt instruments hitting the water. The sound
of our voices carrying over and over. Mumbles
and waves. Someone says the land
was discovered as we hit it but that really
means I took something that didn't belong
to me, to us. We take
like god and we take.

It's so tiring

remembering to exhale
gravity, the thin lines
that drag
breath to the floor,
squiggling your name
in dust. I'm dying,
the dust says,
not knowing that's all
of our names.


If you place the horse in the field like a lightpost
and ask it to shimmy in the snow, or better, to dine
as it would in a French film - all cigarette smoke
and high key lighting - you know you've got a thing
about horses. I could never stand far enough away
from things with eyes like that. Me, all aquiver
with my straw heart, them, sniffing after the apples
in my pockets. I could never outrun the desire
to be consumed, no matter how bitter I made myself.
The truth is, I went there to learn how to dance.
I figured four legs must be better than two. But all
I got was a bad cough and a coupon for buy two get
one free soup in a bag. They nuzzled me toward
the gate while I complained about the expiration date
of the carrots. Our legs close enough to consider
themselves familiar and the smoke in short puffs
from my heart's combustion. Just one touch, nay,
the grazing of corduroy against hoof and you
could trade my body for the oat bags.

Tony Mancus is the author of a handful of chapbooks. He lives with his wife Shannon and three yappy cats in Colorado and serves as chapbook editor for Barrelhouse.

CL Bledsoe is the author of seventeen books, most recently the poetry collection King of Loneliness and the novel The Funny Thing About… He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter and blogs at https://medium.com/@howtoeven (with Michael Gushue).
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