On the cover, piglets. I point, enunciate
slowly. My sixteen-month-old daughter
says, “Da-da.” I correct her, surprised. She
says it again. I’m firm. We open to the first
page. I say, “Cow,” and make a moo sound.
She says, “Moo.” Then a dog. She says, “Wha-
wha-wha.” Another pig. She says, “Da-da.”
I say, “No, piggy.” She says, “Da-da,” and points.
I turn the page. Cheese. Apples. Berries.
She starts strong but leaves off those hard
consonants. Another page, her favorite: “Nanas!”
I say, “BAnanas,” and she gets it. I smile. Clap.
And she claps. Then she flips pages, finds nothing
she likes, comes back to the pig, points. I say, “Piggy.”
She says, “Piggy” and then “Da-da,” and smiles.
CL Bledsoe is the author of five novels including the young adult novel Sunlight, the novels Last Stand in Zombietown and $7.50/hr + Curses; four poetry collections: Riceland, _____(Want/Need), Anthem, and Leap Year; and a short story collection called Naming the Animals. A poetry chapbook, Goodbye to Noise, is available online at www.righthandpointing.com/bledsoe. Another, The Man Who Killed Himself in My Bathroom, is available at http://tenpagespress.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/the-man-who-killed-himself-in-my-bathroom-by-cl-bledsoe/. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 8 times, had 2 stories selected as Notable Stories by Story South's Million Writers Award and 2 others nominated, and has been nominated for Best of the Net twice. He’s also had a flash story selected for the long list of Wigleaf’s 50 Best Flash Stories award. He blogs at Murder Your Darlings, http://clbledsoe.blogspot.com. Bledsoe reviews regularly for Rain Taxi, Coal Hill Review, Prick of the Spindle, Monkey Bicycle, Book Slut, The Hollins Critic, The Arkansas Review, American Book Review, The Pedestal Magazine, and elsewhere. Bledsoe lives with his wife and daughter in Maryland.