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August 2021


Angels can be seen in a rare non-Jello dessert

By Siobhan Bledsoe

August 3, 2021


Watch TV with Petal, your nurse. For three days she’ll convince you that you must become a devout Christian. On the third night you’ll think about conversion. In a sober, serious manner.

You promise you’ll come to every Sunday service, in the LES, to dance with her. And that one nephew. In that one picture you saw more than one time. At the time you mean it. Anything to help heal.

That hokey word “angel” only works when clawing back into the light. Angels can be seen in a rare non-Jello dessert, a nurses off-duty laugh, a floral visitor, natural light poking blinds, or escorting yourself to the bathroom alone.

Any and all New Age proverbs become gospel as you wait for the wings of the clock to flap past an hour, then a day. It’s imprisonment. Scratch. It’s a waiting game. Tap.

Maybe they won’t be there to heed your call. Next time. This time, they were. You dialed yourself. 9-1-1. What’s your emergency? Me, you said.

You’re no amateur. You’re not crying out for help, after all. No manipulation. Just immediate reprieve. Make it to the next day. Parents indebted, and now the bills will befall you. Then maybe your spouse.

A mighty maybe that scenario is. An inevitability? The non-consensual support of your siblings who will outlive your bereft parents. There is an expiration date for patience. Romanticism need not apply.

No hospital visits are social media worthy. Instagram unplugged for weeks. Weight gain, a waning sex drive. Puttering placebo. You seek the sanctuary of humility as the quivering choir whisper when they think you’re asleep. They narrate your worst nightmare:

What an unfair burden for us! Yes, yes, I know it’s a chemical issue. I guess it’s not her fault. 

The divorced parents conjure a shared moment, a manufactured intimacy:

What did we do wrong? After all, she’s beautiful. And bright. After all. Don’t allow your eyelids to flutter and remind yourself of this: you are fallible. After all. But, your family. But, yourself.

But, yourself. Yourself. Yourself. Yourself. It gets tiring. That perverted and accidental self-involvement. The guilt and the surrendering. What a liar it is. A liar! Coloring your reality with delusional-spectra branded crayons.

Genuflect to “Hope”. A paradox, a cheat, a tyrant, an inevitability, a sigh, a small recovery, and a three month amnesia until showering is the To-Do list all over again.

Siobhan Bledsoe is a poet, essayist and very recent graduate of The New School where she completed her MFA in Poetry (2020). Although a New Yorker, she's currently seeking refuge in Woodstock, NY where she's activated dormant hobbies again, particularly learning languages, playing the guitar, cooking, and communing with nature. The latter appears as a newer theme in her work (through the collection, The Covid Canary—specifically in Vermont), works which typically speaks to dehumanization, desensitization, ecological degradation and surveillance capitalism. Her most used social media is Instagram (@myheartbledsoe) where she tends to post conceptual lyric essay series, performance art, and, as of late, the natural landscape which surrounds her.

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