I didn’t look at the fire gumming at the broken wine glass scattered all over my t-shirt; the empty parking spot contained the gestation. As Rina’s hands alternated from beating against my chest, pushing me away, closing the distance, I wondered why Seth waited three years to provide his version of what happened that night, sitting in that nook like a black box.


Elise purred before dropping to the ground, rolling over and exposing her stomach. I watched Rina’s fingers lose themselves in her fur, memories of discovering stubble burn on my inner thigh evaporating.


“At least she left you the cat.” My father said between sips from his Solo cup filled with Evan Williams, Diet Chek cola, melted ice. Elise jumped off the bookshelf, threaded through his legs, begged for his hand. He rubbed her head, walked over to the DVD player, pressed Play. We settled back, waiting for Nicolas Cage to yell, to burn.

Bio:  J. Bradley is the author of Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE Books, 2012). He lives at iheartfailure.net.


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