C.W. Bigelow is the author of the poetry collection Fractured Reflections. After receiving his B.A. in English from Colorado State University, C.W. Bigelow lived in nine northern states, both east and west, before moving south to the Charlotte NC area . His short stories and poems have appeared in The Flexible Persona, Literally Stories, Compass Magazine, FishFood Magazine, Five2One, Crack the Spine, Sick Lit Magazine, Midway Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review, Poydras Review, Cleaning Up Glitter, The Blue Mountain Review, Glassworks, Blood & Bourbon, The Courtship of Winds, Poetry Super Highway, Good Works Review, Backchannels, The Saturday Evening Post, among many others, with stories forthcoming in New Plains Review, Dash Literary Journal, Drunk Monkeys and Short Story Town.
The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by C.W. Bigelow and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Farewell in the Alzheimer’s Ward
Memories locked behind
wrinkled eyelids – curtains almost fully drawn.
Once a son – I’ve
become a stranger in the room
as you grapple
with piles of Beta Amyloid protein
and fail to untangle the threads of tau.
Directing an infuriating investigation
to unravel any haunting mysteries
without any concrete clues
before the door locks
with a hushed clicking of the latch.
I’ve become a cracked window
in your clouded blue eyes –
a visiting blend of fathers,
or babies, maybe a young son –
a time traveling imposter
conversing with your current recollection
as you meander through
ripples of yesterdays.
Grasping at the filmstrip of your life spinning
off the reel, chattering in mid-air –
once vivid frames of celluloid
abruptly ignited by the flames of the disease.
Hellos are met with suspicious gazes.
Momentary recognition inflame anger
as I fail to comfort you,
and goodbye is meaningless but still anguished.
James Redfern was born and raised in Long Beach, California. Redfern is a graduate of Grinnell College. His poetry has appeared in High Shelf,Beatific Magazine, The Raw Art Review, Transcend, We Are Antifa (anthology, Into the Void), 2020: Good Writing from a Bad Year (anthology, Dutch Kills Press), Verity La: The Clozapine Clinic, Dime Show Review,Swimming with Elephants, Montana Mouthful, Anti-Heroin Chic, Great Lakes Poetry Press, Fear and Loathing in Long Beach, The American Journal of Poetry, Passengers Journal, DoveTales, Genre: Urban Arts (forthcoming), and elsewhere.
The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by James Redfern and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Yesterday, We Just Made Small Talk
I ran into my ex-mother-in-law at the grocery store.
she was looking down at something in the dairy aisle
and I bumped her cart with mine. she was startled at first,
then, after she recognized me, she smiled. we hugged.
she looked good, healthy. looked like maybe she’d
finally really stopped drinking. we made small talk,
and then we went our separate ways. she said, “God
bless you,” as I walked away. “Yeah, you too,” I said back.
the night of the day we all buried her husband
I was standing in the warm San Diego rain
in a thoroughfare’s gutter in heavy traffic.
I was standing in the rain holding her sobbing,
several blocks away from the wake, I found her,
psychotically drunk, trying to walk into traffic,
but I held her fast. her slight and fragile frame
was no match for my six-four, three-hundred-pound
restraint system. I held her fast and close, rain pounding
down. she was no match for my mass. she knew
she could not get away from me. she knew she
could not run into traffic. she knew she had to stay.
she knew she was safe. she was howling, crying,
snotting and slobbering all over my lapel and shirt
and tie. large, heavy raindrops were seemingly
everywhere. glaring headlights continued speeding
past just feet away. car horns honked and howled,
speeding past. I held her fast in my arms.
she howled and moaned as the traffic and the rain
and the world all continued on in spite of the cold,
hard fact that the love of her life was in the ground.
we stood in the gutter in this manner for an hour or so.
no one came looking for us. I held her in the warm
San Diego rain until she wanted to move away from
the traffic. we walked around in the rain for a while,
and she told me things about life with her love.
she laughed when she told me they never made love
when it was raining. “I never told anyone that secret,”
she said to me. she told me she was sorry for everything
she’d ever done. she asked where the rest of her family was.
she told me she loved me. she told me how much her
husband had loved me. she said I understood her.
she told me she didn’t know how she could possibly go on
with the love of her live so deep in the ground.
and yesterday, in the supermarket,
we just made small talk
then walked away from each other.