J. Bradley


The carbon copy of each check reads like an incomplete history. The address on the checkbook is from three or four apartments ago. You were part of a we then but never knew that you would have to reclaim yourself, whether you would ever need to. On later carbon copies, you see how you crossed out the address for the recipient, replaced it with wherever you lived after. You did this because you thought the bank needed to know your whereabouts in order to cash the check. You stopped doing it because the bank took out the money regardless.

You wonder who lives there now, what voice is on the other end when you call the number. Would you warn the caller or the resident about equating the other to some dead thing or sickness? Would you ask s/he to quantify loss without using the letter t?

The musician on the record mourns for mother. The musician on the record mourns. The musician walks back through history with photos. The musician thumbs through his checkbook, does not read the carbon copy, does not remember the what and where in the address on it. The musician reminds you that we are all waiting for rain, to mourn.

You cringe when you hear someone say something about everyone being a library. You cannot burn what you don’t like about yourself, what you have collected. You refuse to exchange cannot to shouldn’t. The musician says nothing about fire. You shred the exhausted checkbook, trust the safety of metal teeth over emptying matchbooks.


J. Bradley is a writer based out of Orlando, FL. He is the author of the graphic poetry collection, The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), with art by Adam Scott Mazer. His chapbook, Neil, won Five [Quarterly]‘s 2015 e-Chapbook Contest for Fiction. He runs the Central Florida-based reading series/chapbook publisher There Will Be Words and lives at