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All the Hurt World
by John Bradley

For my brother, Dan

1962: What to do when neighbor
beats upon neighbor’s
Popular Mechanics bomb shelter door.

You were what—four? Ann Hushel—three?
That brick in your hand older and wiser
than all the hurt of the world.

Above your head. Over the wire
fence. The brick rose, tottered. Fell.
For Mighty Mouse to grab.

Mouth open, Ann Hushel ran inside. Next,
her mother at the fence, forearms pressed
to her belly. Your son

she sang to mom, her words bruising
the air under the pear tree, dropped a brick
on my daughter’s head.

1962: When you hid inside the dryer
and no one could find you. Mom
so mad when she pulled you out, she

wanted to drop you off
at the convent door, twenty dollar bill
pinned to your collar.

Tell me, what was it like, Dan. So far
away from the ache of the world. Still
inside that unruled stillness.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 2.

placesaverJohn Bradley is the author of five books of poetry, prose poems, and aphorisms, his most recent Trancelumination (Lowbrow Press).  He teaches at Northern Illinois University.

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