If I seem distracted, I’m working on my party trick ~ poetry by Lisa Bledsoe

1. Absorption

I’ve spent decades bioaccumulating
PCBs, manganese, & especially
organophosphate pesticides

—my mother and I both l0ved apples.
All us kids on the block followed
the mosquito trucks on our Schwinns & Huffys

breathing malathion and tHermal oils
then for dinner potatoes, spinach
strawberries doused with

repeated chemical washes and now
my nerve signals are dis-
rupted: I tell my left hand to unclench

//it refuses.
Regardless of depth or isolation
we are far from pristine.

But this isn’t one of <those> poems,
awkward pinky promise or just
waving oddly

2. Transference

I am set at an Angle now, and shake
or slant. I am a wavering gradient
and spend my days

absorbing the ultraviolet.
Later, I will surprise you.
Raspberry pink is what I’m going for

although blue or lavender are also on
my List. The mechanism of this disease
has brought me to corals, owLs

a squid flashing to startle predators.
All that life brings: parenting, laughter,
the terrible night calls, that movie

you always quote n being alone even: sticks
around in my cells, long-lived, high%jumping.
Signal blocking. So now is my moment. I Breathe

down deep ~submarine ~subterranean Hold it
then passing it on, exhale and
blessed-fungi-and-all-the-saints I will now

Emit. Light. Fluoresce! and guess what?
The will o’ the wisp is actually an owl,
which is groovy.

3. Fluorescence

Scientists think the pink-glowing flying squirrels
evolved to con-fuse the fluorescing owls: Never mind me
I’m just another owl. Tricky.

Why not take advantage of the quantum yield
of the fluorescence process? My overabundance
of unused signal, plastic trash in the abyss

slash nightwoods of Me should serve some
useful purpose. I might get up to 100% and
even .10 could be quite luminous. My

total decay rate feels first-order. I’m
part shark part neon jellyfish cruising
the aphotic zone. Lit. Sneaky and also

life of the party. Life, minus this
overflow of neural dreck, and in stead
the holy transmutation of brain garbage

into the luster of rose, violet
or blue, the glow of feather and fur or
corals waving their fronds in a starless night.

Watched by crows and friend to salamanders, Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a hiker, beekeeper, and writer living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of two full-length books of poetry, Appalachian Ground (2019), and Wolf Laundry (2020). She has new poems out or forthcoming in The Blue Mountain Review, American Writers Review, The Main Street Rag, Sky Island Journal, Star*Line, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, and River Heron Review, among others.

Show Lisa some love via Paypal at paypal.me/LisaCreechBledsoe.