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Bob Bradshaw

San Francisco


Maybe it was the adrenalin of flag waving.
But when he walked into that room,
the dance floor as crowded as martinis
on a tray, I saw
him. Like spies we traded notes,
our friends running them back and forth
like couriers with news
from the front.
Would I dance with him?
No, would I marry
It was crazy.
I felt like a sixteen year old beauty queen
on her first
Maybe I should have felt insulted.
Impulsive buying, my mom said.
But I felt beautiful.
And he was more beautiful than any flag.
with love, we married
a month later
on the stage of the bandstand
in Golden Gate Park.
Thirty years later
we'd still be trading


My baby rubbed
her heels on my belly.
We lived in a curved
space. I'd whisper
back to her,
giving her the world's
Daddy had a promotion.
The bees were wearing
yellow trousers.
Daddy was winking
at her.
The horses were clattering
up and down Market Street.
A dragon was roaming
Firecrackers were going off
at peoples' feet.
The funny Lion dancers shook
as if infested with lice.
Evil spirits had been driven off.
It was a lucky


A young man lifted
the veil from my daughter's face.
A murmur broke through the room
like incoming surf.
The room blurred.
Tears leaked
from my rust-red eyes
all afternoon.
My husband joked about renting
my daughter's old room out. My stare
vetoed that


My daughter and her husband
want me to move to Pleasanton
with them.
I have no history
there, I argue.
I'd rather have tort lawyers
lined up at my door
like the destitute
queued up at Saint Anthony's kitchen
than to move
from San Francisco.
It's dirty,
they say. "Yes?"
I ask.
And there's crime,
they argue.
We'll discuss this
another time, they say,
as if I lived
in a county without running water,
without indoor toilets.
Yes, I say, another

©2004 by Bob Bradshaw
Bob Bradshaw is a programmer living in Redwood City, California. Recent work of his has appeared, or is scheduled to appear, at Stirring, Writer's Monthly, Dead Mule, Prairie Poetry, The Green Tricycle, and Blue Fifth Review. Bob spends much of his time in a haze listening to old Rolling Stones' albums.

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