Three Poems / by Carmen E. Brady

Bottomless Salad and Breadsticks

There's still time like a water fountain waiting to be drained and dried and leaving concrete.

The only thing to do is—

This is what we broke our bones on.

Once I watched some children. Once I watched a nanny watching some children running around on leaves falling, on concrete and heard the crack of their heads, watched the scooping, the shushing, the run alongs, the decision not to call the parents, not to tell them.

There's still time in the seizures.

A 2 year old cries until she seizes. We watched her on our first date and ate Olive Garden as the ambulance rang.

We broke someone else's bones just by watching them skate the empty pool.

(it was easier to leave)

I called when I had a vision in a dream about a something I couldn't quite remember. You called me frigid later in bed when I was trying to be ok and so I cried and then we had sex but like in a "gentle" way so that maybe we both enjoyed it. I dont know. I left before you fell asleep. You sent me a smiley face text in the morning. I laid on the hardwood floor listening to the A side of Rumors like 8 times and then sent you a text to see if you liked Stevie Nicks.

There's still time to "make it up to each other" but I "lostyour number.

The only thing to do is drive away.

I bet that kid got a concussion. There was still time to take him to the dr. There was nothing stopping it. It was no one's fault. Leaves were everywhere. We all fall down.

The only thing to do is drive by well-lit suburban streets with mini water fountains and take comfort in the fact they'll dry up and that even though theres still time we'll never be the type to live in those houses on those streets anyway



You came back over after I'd thrown up my fruit loop and tequila dinner in my bedroom trashcan and were like, why are you at the dumpster in your bra, are you trying to tempt me or get laid or something? So I told you the bag I was holding had my vomit in it and I didn't want my room to smell.

You yelled at me that I didn't know how to take care of myself and that I’d made a fool of you at the party and my roommate came out and yelled at both of us. Then you drunk drove home.

The next day you apologized and we had Hangover Breakfast.

The next day is always for apologies. The next day is always for breakfast.

Once I was high and told a room full of people you were like Gatsby, and regretted it as soon as I wasn't high. I tried to explain that it was because you never lived now, always in the past or in the future.

But that was a shitty analogy because I was really just trying to make excuses to myself for that time you were fucking me and while you were fucking me you asked if you were good and i said yes and you said, I just hope I’m good enough for the next girl.

The Gatsby thing didn't hold up.

I thought about that as you like, hurt me that last time and then screamed at me that this was my fault and that you thought we'd get married someday while I was crying and scared. i missed that easy confusion of dwelling on the past while in the present.

Easy confusion can be so nice.

Sometimes when I’m looking at my reflection in public bathrooms i wonder why anyone has ever wanted to have anything with me.

Sometimes I yell at men who are trying to flirt just for 'fun.'

Mostly I live and smile at friends.

Mostly I am the same shadow.

Sometimes when I look at myself half undressed in my broken mirror I check my window for you, still.

(now I always close my venetian blinds.)


Actual time


Time spreads over lakes we live by, over mountains I miss.

I lay in bed and want something I can't articulate. Comfort is the closest thing I can think of, but comfort isn't something I want to see.

What I’m saying is tonight I’m feeling unproductively sad. It is eating plain yogurt alone in my room. It is my room being uncleaned, sleeping with laundry and crumbs in the full-sized bed.

It is my studio apartment, garden level, looking at the sod while I pretend mounds of mud are the Rockies and the ponds nearby are glacial lakes.

I have my phone near me and the screen is black. The night sky is gray with light pollution.

I’d like to hear people talk right now, as long as they talked like there are still stars.




Carmen E. Brady writes and draws and studies in Wisconsin. Her writing has appeared in Electric Cereal, theNewerYork, Split Infinitive, and Purple Pig Lit. She says things on Twitter and Tumblr.