Tuesday, March 10, 2020


Placing A Mask Of My Face Over My Face

I aspire only to silence. I could not let you know

this I was told, and yet here I am releasing sounds

once stored miles below your shoe. Rules make me

want to run to a glass room, vomit a broom, and blind

each wall with dank river mud. I could say you will

stab my every exhalation and it will not harm me.

You will charm me and make me kinder and smarter,

lilting the tilt of the planet. I can't quite see the trace

of your face, yet I'm told it resembles a baggie of frozen

starlight, a shot glass of lung water, a vial of sea salt

vapor. I aspire only to invisibility, the skin around the rain

droplet on the back of your hand. I don't know you,

or I know you but don't yet belong to you, the slight

scar on your throat. I feel stronger, the rules flimsier,

after I've found in the corner, under the carpet, a slim

black turd. Perhaps you wish to smack me, so I'll glow

about the head. I'm never certain when you're in

the garage, engine running, what you grasp of desire.

That crescent moon only seen through the bottom

of a rusted bucket. Thus I leave you, listing with silence,

aspiring only to what shall be spilled.


John Bradley
Spontaneous Mummification
winner of the James Tate Poetry Prize 2019
SurVision Books