J. Bradley: Super Poet

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When I heard the jewelry commercial on the radio say it was engagement season, I imagined restaurants scattered across meadows where men grounded themselves on bended knee, stuffing the cannonball of questions down their throat with the gunpowder of sparkling wine.

Wielding doubt like a hatchet, I would try scalping engagement rings while the blustering groom rehearsed in front of the bathroom mirror the choreography of sentences, prying open the jaws of the ring box. “You will not find the future in the train of her wedding dress,” I would arc then follow with “Forever is for people who don't know how to love inventively”; if timed right, this would gut his smile, smother the butterflies in his stomach. If love is a pair of contact lenses, I'll wear his fist somewhere on my face as a report card for effort.

I try not to harbor preserves of regret, stretch my arms like pages and wait for flocks of erasers to peck at the beauty marks but sometimes, I wish a hunter walked into the restaurant bathroom that day, diamonds, broken ring settings, and vials of tears dangling from his belt, and took his best killing stroke.



Our Love Was Like The Emergency Room On The 4th of July


You hired pyrotechnicians
for your moods; children
weren't allowed to watch.

You shaped me into
a splintered hand; the char
of your perfume chokes
the neighbors.



J. Bradley is the author of Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009) and the author of theThe Serial Rapist Sitting Behind You Is A Robot (Safety Third Enterprises, 2010). He is the Interview Editor of PANK Magazine and lives at iheartfailure.net.