Two Poems / by Keegan Bradford


How many cups of coffee let cool
How many broken bottles left in the street
For two, three days—on my way to lunch,
I see the same green glass
Against the curb.

“Every year,” he says, 
“When I grow my beard for the winter,
I see more white.”

The only thing I do for enjoyment is sleep,
Although I do many other things
in order to sleep well.

There has to be a church for those like us,
Those who delight in the sight of the trash sifter,
We who pick at scabs and stickers
And cold wax.

A whiff of vinegar, some bite
Of salt, a holy brine
That I am gently let down into







There are no more political poems
There is no symmetry or density in a bomb blast
I only use the newspaper to line the birdcage
Somewhere, a star busies itself
Tucking into itself
I could watch it wink out
If I knew where to look

My lunch hour feels nothing like when
O’Hara stepped out for a sandwich
A paper and a bit of cocktail gossip
I hole away behind headphones
Avoid eye contact, try not to watch
The TVs in the subway
Factories are still tapping their cigarettes
Against the heavens
The sky says flatly “Sorry We’re Closed”
When I cough, I taste mulch,
Dead wet plants.

Every few blocks there’s another shop
Closed and gutted overnight
Rough bits of plaster and wood
Where shelves were wrenched from the walls
As if a tornado set down, spun around, and pointed;
No reason, it was just there
And it had to chew through something
Like a rat whose teeth will burst through its own mouth
Unless it constantly gnaws
On wood
On bone





Keegan Bradford is not into kids or dogs. He earned his M.A. at Liberty University and currently lives and teaches in Guangzhou, China. He has twice ghostwritten essays for friends and both times they received scores lower than if they had just written it themselves.