CL Bledsoe


When I went to pick my daughter up at pre-school,
the kids were on the playground. Her teachers
eyed me and glanced across the slide at each other
before one finally explained that they had asked
the kids, earlier, what sort of pet was their favorite.
My daughter had said she wanted a dog. When they asked
what its name should be, she’d said, “Lucifer.”
They went quiet to see my reaction. I laughed
and explained that the name came from Disney’s Cinderella.
Forced, relieved chuckles followed. “That must be it,”
one said. I corralled my daughter, making sure
to have her say goodbye to the teachers, and tried
not to remember growing up in the Bible Belt,
being labelled a Devil Worshiper because I didn’t go
to church, how that meant ostracization, police harassment.
She ran ahead to the tiny bench by the school door, sat,
and asked me to sit beside her. “I’m too big,” I said. “But
I’ll watch you.” We could hear the remaining kids
screaming, the roar of engines from the interstate.
She turned her face to the sun and smiled out at the world.


CL Bledsoe lives in Alexandria, Virginia.