Brad Rose

What I Heard from the Girl Who Tends Bar at “The Blackboard”

Like an asylum orderly,
I’ve heard a lot of things.
Tonight, the girl behind the bar
is the girl in the music.
Blue Novocain, her eyes could numb the sun.
Between riots of roistering rockabilly,
she bends across the bar, whispers something to me
that sounds like rain falling on a cinerarium.
She can’t wait to get off work.

At 2:00, we drive to her house.
She’s silent as a stone.
I have the best taste in the worst music.
Behind the wheel, I emulate the perfect me.

We stop by her ex’s place,
children’s toys asleep on the dark lawn.
I feel light as confetti,
lower than a hanged man’s shoes.

She opens the car door, slips out.
The night’s green scent squeezes in.
What could go wrong? she laughs back at me.
Keep the car running.
As she disappears into the dim mouth of the house,
the sky kneels closer to the street’s stooped roofs.
Then, like a child’s fist pummeling a pillow,
muted shots describe the unthinkable.

I’ll never un-hear those bullets’ blunt report.


You can hear Brad reading this piece at: 

Brad Rose was born and raised in southern California, and lives in Boston. In addition to appearances in, his poetry and fiction have appeared in: The Baltimore Review; Right Hand Pointing; Off the Coast; Third Wednesday; The Potomac; San Pedro River Review; Santa Fe Literary Review; Barely South Review; Boston Literary Magazine; Short, Fast and Deadly; and other publications. Links to Brad's poetry and miniature fiction can be found at: Brad’s chapbook of miniature fiction, from Right Hand Pointing, is viewable here: Coyotes Circle the Party Store.