Knowing that your door
is always open, gentle absence,

green water in a hollow gourd,
and so many mouths that need (to taste) you.

Black gums ache in basements.
The drunk on the roof smiles down

at the broken halo on the patio,
eyebrows rummaging across his forehead.

An ice cream scoop of acid.
Smelt for a medieval section of hell.

Work, and not the worry of it.
A long-necked fish flopping

on a counterpane-- gills itching,
dry eyes open and blind as mirrors.

Old coats left on hangers,
starched shirts in wrappers, unused cologne.

Roman, Cartheginian, Etruscan.
Others? Many. Much blight

and many born for it.
Behind the breast bone,

the watch fob dangles midnight.
And all the while, whimsical sperm slips

through membrane to dart and play,
the filmy egg of the door’s

opening and closing,
and opening.

Bob Bradley was born in Mansfield, Ohio, May 31, 1959. Grew up in North Carolina and Georgia. He was educated at the University of Georgia, Athens, where he studied with Coleman Barks and at the University of Virginia, where he studied with Charles Wright and Gregory Orr. He currently pursues doctoral studies at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, Southern Poetry Review, Seneca Review, Poetry East, Antioch Review, Plainsong, Iris, Painted Bride Quarterly among others. For more information, visit his website at www.bobbradley.com (artistultra@comcast.net)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761