Photo from Hannah Xu on Unsplash.
C.L. Liedekev is a poet/propagandist who lives in Conshy, PA with his real name, wife, and children. He attended most of his life in the Southern part of New Jersey. His work has been published in such places as Humana Obscura, Red Fez, MacQueen’s, Hare’s Paw, River Heron Review, amongst others. He is also a 2021 Best of the Net finalist.
I give the darkness names
Terminal hill of fear, beast of fur and wet, scream of open cement mouth, moor of the belly, fen of mind. I pinpoint each sensation, roll its feeling in my mouth. The stone chill of the couch, sweatshirt, a dry leech on the back. I list each fear, an anti-prayer of peregrine and punish, her heart drowns in its own chest, her liver dries as fruit, eaten as death, her kidneys and skin rope together and hang to the sway of her screams. No wraith appears, no fire, no rocks just the crushing wave of night. The hospital courtyard is blacked out, snow coasts over the windows, I see nothing but the monsters I have already named, over and over. Past her bed, past the wires of blood, platelets, life - is the thick door, its rectangle, reinforced window sprung alive - A lighthouse I did not know I needed. The Story of Anxiety A poet once told me, “Begin the story in the middle. Let the reader draw the lines themselves. The same rain fills the dry river bed during every storm. How about the Solar Brothers, one toe-headed, the other wore a ring that scared my neck down into two thick highways. My mother, her voice dimmed behind the door. My father bleeds panic. I shake off the sound of an electric knife turning off. Or start at the lies about my sister Endless lines in endless stories: the trunk filled with my parent’s stolen socks, the police camera that fetched only ghost images. She is just some cryptid, night sucker vanishing on injured legs. Then her curse is gone for five years like some dope-fueled comet. It is my daughter at this point. After her diagnosis, after red transfusion after platelet transfusion, I take my daughter home in a bubble, she is now a fine crystal in the shape of a failed baby’s bones, empty of white blood cells. I don’t so much as sleep in her doorway but carves the names of everything that can hurt her over and over on in the molding. So many names it mimics stars that built the night-stained sky. Life Past Rehab You find out later, after the weary edge of history has burned smooth, after the harsh world has laid its skinless body in the bathtub, and turned the faucet on full-reign hot, after the stolen chairs, the fearless silverware, hocked wedding rings whispering tales in the pawnshop window - children on a field trip, the wonder of being unowned. You find out the real story is headless, handless, a plotless, a rectangular mass of letter after letter, bill after bill, credit card fees, electric company threats, loans, impounds, fines, court costs, lawyer fees, child support, new shoes that outgrew the disappointment. They all sit in piles on the table by the door, red lettering, attention, and denial, all asking the same question: “Are you any different?” Code of Minor Haunting Her scratching on tables, where fingers nails are left flicked away, slow rasp, lipstick, red under bottom lip, the shade of the chin’s cleft. A voice pulling the end consonants down at the end of the word, an act of drowning, whispers in the lungs, right ey e a hazel twitch, the lucky coin catching the light, turning in point of witch fingers, a flick of lash, there there, here is pain, hands hold wine glass, a maroon throb of vein in the wrist, pulse’s truth and panic, as the anger bubbles up along the teeth and is swallowed, lump in the throat vanishes, a body down into the deep. Gone.