Blame From a Poet (from a fiction in progress)

He blamed me for good reason, to start. But then he began to blame me strangely. He blamed me when his pipes froze over in the winter. He blamed me when a pigeon shat on his shoulder. He blamed me when his poems were rejected by prestigious journals. He blamed me when his published poems contained typographical errors. He blamed me when the summer nights grew too hot, the grass turned yellow, the wells went dry. He blamed me when the seasons changed too abruptly and his investment in crops froze or burned away. He blamed me for his myriad paper cuts. He blamed me when he pressed down too hard on his pad of paper and broke his pencil lead on the last downward flourish of the word “maddening” or “reviled.” He blamed me for his bouts of constipation. He blamed me when his readings were ill-attended. He blamed me when a car splashed mud on his fine black trousers, the fringe of his sparkling white shirt. He blamed me when he fell sick from staying up late gambling with other “artistes.” He blamed me when, although sick, he returned to the gambling dens and lost his last few cents and even his sparkling white shirt. He blamed me for the arthritis in his left hand and the mosquito bite on his right ankle. He blamed me for cold mutton. He blamed me when his prick would not rise to a challenge. He blamed me when clouds obscured the stars. He blamed me when the river was so thick with mud he could not swim across it. He blamed me when, turning over on his side, he pinched a nerve in his neck. He blamed me for the reported cessation of tides on the far side of the continent. He blamed me for the moon’s petulant whiteness. He blamed me for his unhappiness. He blamed me for being alive. He blamed me so intensely, with so little pity, so little focus, that he took my daughter from me one night. I’d have blamed him for nothing–hated him for nothing–if he’d not, just not, taken my daughter.

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