|A man and woman hug on the streets of Manchester. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA via The Guardian, May 23, 2017|
The talking head reads the names of people
who are no longer people. The expert
offers the hypothesis that the network paid for.
You ask this lover whether he knew
anyone in the building. He wipes his tears,
shakes his head. You try soothing him,
your tips coaxing his grief.
Once, you invented a shoulder
for a lover who knew someone
who died by bullet, explosion.
He heard the whir of helicopters
for weeks after it happened.
When he asked you to move in,
you left behind your shoulder,
a note: this is all I can offer you.
J. Bradley won Five [Quarterly]'s 2015 e-chapbook contest for his collection of flash fiction Neil. He is the author as well of the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014) and the prose poem chapbook It Is A Wild Swing Of A Knife (Choose the Sword, 2015).