Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Bob Bradshaw


In Vinny's den are bookcases of photo albums.
He treasures them as if they were
original manuscripts smuggled
from the Vatican Library.

There is his daughter leaning out
over the Fontana de Trevi like a water
serpent. She throws a quarter
over her shoulder.

There she is pretending
to weep, surrounded by sobbing
pipes, as Cupids pass clear urine
in ornate bowls.

Nearby the Piazza Venezia
lures Vinny. The Palace, once prime
real estate in 1455, is still
about location, location, location.

He buries himself behind his camera
like a sniper behind his rifle.
The world shrinks to the size
of a lens. He never sees the girls
lifting their eyes at me.

"Che belle ragazze!" I shout.
But he's moving me with a wave
of his hand. "Lean right."
While he rotates his camera

I slip into Tre Scalini, gorge
myself on the bitter chocolate
of tartufo. Everywhere in Rome
there are eager scents. Garlic
and mint. Percorino Romano.
The sloped, perfumed shoulders

of beautiful women. Ah, if I
could drag a net across this
piazza for a bride, would I find
anyone to throw back? Where is

my friend? Ah, snapping a photo
of another gargling fountain.

"How I love Rome," he says.

There's an Elephant in the Room

His body blocks the sunlight.
Occasionally he trashes the room,
raises his trunk
and trumpets his need
for attention
but no one acknowledges him.
No one mentions the splintered futons,
the ivory tusks gleaming
in the darkened room.
No one brings up my ex-wife
who abandoned me for a man
that reeked of scotch.
No one is callous enough
to ask about my old addictions
or how my therapy is going.
No one says a thing when Mother
coughs up a yellow gob
as big as an egg yolk
and spits it into her cup.
Everyone sips their green tea
quietly. The rumbling
that leaves us shaken
could be a train
going by

Cabin Fever

Why are you so sad? I ask her.
"The weather," she says. "It depresses me.
The rains last for months.
What can I do? It's the Northwest."
Maybe a new roof job would help,
I suggest. She ignores me.

She leans against a fogged window.
Serrated knives flash
in the sky as she hunches down,
eyes dilated, like a cat
in a night's downpour.

"This house will soon be leaking,"
she tells me, "like scaffolding.
Somewhere there is sun pouring
through clouds like honey,

but not here, never here."
Her body slumps, like a pile
of wet laundry. The staccato
of raindrops clattering into buckets

reaffirms what she already knows.
I grab my umbrella, stride out the door
and drive south towards Phoenix.

©2008 by Bob Bradshaw

Bob Bradshaw is a programmer living in Redwood City, California. He is a big fan of the Rolling Stones. Recent work of his can be found at PNG, Blue Fifth Review, Umbrella, Orange Room Review, Flutter, Slow Trains, and Cha.

  Home Contributors Past Issues Search   Links  Guidelines About Us

Subscribe to the Slow Trains newsletter