by C. L. Bledsoe

slough it off like skin       if it helps
          hot showers loosen muscles
          cold showers loosen hate
either way       it’s best to wash off the smell
of sweat       you’ve given away
before it lingers too long

don’t think of it as days or hours or lives       think
of that beer waiting patiently
          like a wife
in the fridge       think
          of death       think
of pizza and Fritos       movies on TNT       blood
           dripping from your knuckles
like rain

because life
          is so much longer than anyone
                     told us
          days       so short
and they’ll kill you with traffic
          before the fumes even have a chance
to give you cancer       kill you
           with taxes       paperwork       kill you

by digging a hole in you slow
          each day       fill it
with shit       and noise
until that’s all that’s left
          you’ve seen       what used to be men
who’ve become this

find a place or make it       in yourself
           they’ll never touch
wrap it in lead       fire       make it too hot
to touch       hate       can motivate
but it burns out like a bad lightbulb
           and must be replaced
with more bulbs again and again until you learn
to see       without it       or make something
from yourself       like light

C. L. Bledsoe is an MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas. He has poems forthcoming in Nimrod and 2River.