How To Find Joy

CL Bledsoe

Start in the last place you looked.
Beneath the dusty couch pillow
some dead aunt gave you one

holiday. Under the dampening
trash bag in the kitchen that doesn’t
smell bad enough to take out. Yet.

Put your ear to the wall and whistle
softly to see if anything answers.
Hope nothing does. This is also

a good way to tell if a stampede
is coming. You may have to move
to a new apartment. Put your tongue

to the door when no one is around.
You’re looking for something
between almonds and safe. Everyone

knows what you mean, but no
one can spell it on the first try. It’s
okay. The trick is never to let

the punitive patter of regret memorize
your apartment number. When it asks,
give it the president’s cell, your fourth

grade teacher’s bottled disdain, a perfect
afternoon six years from now. It doesn’t
matter. As soon as you make eye contact,

it’s going to duck into a rattling elevator
and pray that it doesn’t fall too fast.
If it’s still on its feet at the bottom,

it’s doing better than most of us.

Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of twenty books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in Love, Grief Bacon, and his newest, Driving Around, Looking in Other People's Windows, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and the forthcoming The Saviors. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael Gushue located here: His own blog, Not Another TV Dad, is located here: He’s been published in hundreds of journals, newspapers, and websites that you’ve probably never heard of. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.