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by J. Bradley

I smother Daniel's face into the pillow, then pivot his head slightly to the left. The blinds hold back the sunlight like a crowd, the straggler showing me the faded tattoo of a drooling pelican on Daniel's left shoulder. I quit him as I prepare him.


There are fresh batteries in the clock above the dresser, a back up condom in case the first one doesn't stay on or won't go on. Daniel keeps his head cocked to the left, staring at the open closet, t-shirts gathering his skin to add to the collection.


There will be an ending here, clothing gathered, small talk forced; I'll never ask him about the pelican.

Author's Note

With this piece, I wanted to wear the skin of someone with a want they always wanted to act on, but when the moment happens a level of detachment is required to not become so overwhelmed. I think we've all had a wish that we don't know what to do with it when it finally comes true, and that either heightens or ruins that thing we always wanted, like in A Christmas Story where Ralphie finally gets the BB gun only for it to backfire on him. That's why we're afraid sometimes of getting what we want because of what could happen next.

J. Bradley is the author of the forthcoming graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014). He lives at

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