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CLS Sandoval Poetry

The Change I Never Expected

by CLS Sandoval

No safe place to land—only distractions from the inevitable
Everything most sacred thrown to the fire
I was careless, selfish
I failed
Ignorance was bliss
That belief that I was invincible
I was wrong but I felt so safe
So impenetrable
Now just vulnerable
It doesn’t matter
But she does
We are reclaiming the forgotten
We are writing ourselves into our own history
We are bodies with bodies performing
Disorientation of loss
Once we go into
We never come out
We are never ready for death
Even when it’s a relief
Our art
Our craft
Our life’s blood and beat
Return to the mundane
Return to tradition
The massage of the message
Reframe pains, betrayals

the pebble

it started with a pebble
she took it as a favor
no problem on her shoulders
she just wanted to offer help
and others learned she was willing to shoulder a pebble
word spread quickly
they formed lines
requesting she take another pebble
pebbles became rocks
then a little bigger
then boulders
requests became statements
then people just silently dumped their burdens
she knew this was on her
no complaints allowed
the baggage had piled up so gradually
she expected nothing to change


Full speed ahead.
Do something productive.
Don’t just spin wheels.
Make progress forward.
We were ready to go.
We had been ready for months.
Finally ready to tell those closest to us.
Tight lipped, but selecting our important people to know.
Then they told everyone.
Everyone we know was the way they explained it.
And we had to take it back.
Stop mid race.
Stop planning.
Cancel orders.
Call everyone.
We know to announce the feet.
It’s empty.
It’s isolating.
It’s no longer.
Must remember, it’s no tragedy.
The baby didn’t die.
Nothing bad happened to the mother.
She just made a different choice.
A choice that no longer includes us.
 “Don’t worry, Mommy,” my six-year-old says. There are lots of babies. There’s a birth mommy who will need us someone will pick us.”


CLS Sandoval, PhD (she/her) is a pushcart nominated writer and communication professor with accolades in film, academia, and creative writing who speaks, signs, acts, publishes, sings, performs, writes, paints, teaches and rarely relaxes. She’s a flash fiction and poetry editor for Dark Onus Lit. She has presented over 50 times at communication conferences, published 15 academic articles, two academic books, three full-length literary collections, three chapbooks, as well as flash and poetry pieces in several literary journals, recently including Opiate Magazine, The Journal of Magical Wonder, and A Moon of One’s Own. She is raising her daughter and dog with her husband in Alhambra, CA.