Savannah Bradley

A Litany of Lost Things

The dead lay scattered along Highway P;

barn swallow, deer head.

The cat that made it across the ditch

is wondering where I am going.

If You Die Tonight:

Heaven or hell?

855- FOR-TRUTH

This warning is a vortex: I am in the seventh

pew from the altar, fourth grade.

Father Ron says it’s a sin

to miss a week of church.

Confess. I’m peeling white nail polish off my fingernails

and watching the shards writhe through the air

down to the tile-awake to the sudden

cold claws of my teacher on the back of my neck,

“Your tag.” A too close whisper,

strange shoulder squeeze. Confess.

HELL IS REAL.

Once, I dial the number on the sign,

biting my cuticles as each ring throbs through my ear-

     click

and then nothing. Open road stretches out.

I pass a plastic pink kitchen abandoned

in the interstate median, its oven a vacancy.

It does to me what the car crash gong

of church bells do to funerals. Tongues of sting

that toll around: repression.

                          BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT,

                                               JESUS IS ALIVE!

Kneeling amongst my fingernails I study the sculpture

that hangs as a centerpiece. The unraveling human;

his suffering painted red on his hands-

I am waiting to drink his blood

and I feel like I should apologize.

He looks so unhappy, there, head wilted

and not looking at any of us.

I think that I have been doing this wrong for awhile.

Savannah Bradley is a Kansas City-based poet and a recent English and Creative Writing graduate from the University of Central Missouri. She has plans to pursue an M.F.A. in poetry. Bradley also has work forthcoming in Barrow Street.

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