Brad Rose

Census of the Dead

I’ve never been accused of the reckless abandonment of a body, although I have twice donated
mine to science. If you listen carefully to the apparatus of the clouds, you’ll hear the sky
apologizing for its impoverished blue. As lazy as they are, my dreams are doing the best they
can. At least, that’s what they tell me. Yesterday, my little sister poisoned her new boyfriend.
You can’t blame her; he wasn’t looking. The deceased report they’re happier where they reside,
although it may be best to give them the benefit of the doubt. Although they inhabit only one
planet at a time, the dead are notoriously difficult to count.

Paradise Mobile Home Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico

I’m the kind of person water can’t wait to drown. Occasionally, I mistake an inanimate object for
a pet, but no harm done. Thursday, I stopped by the funeral home, just briefly, to heckle. At
first, it was fun, then, like a runaway dog, the fun was gone. I have no idea what the hospitality
industry is. I want to get various projects off the ground. Discipline is everything. Since the
hunting accident last fall, I like to keep my hands in front of me—right where I can see them.
My next-door neighbor’s wrists are tiny, thin as the bones of a sparrow. She’s younger than the
other occupants. Prettiest damn thing. Most days I’m relaxed. I don’t have an enemy in the
world. You can see for yourself. Hey, what do you say we go outside and shoot a few rounds?
It’ll be just like old times, only this time, nobody’ll get hurt. Promise.




Brad Rose lives in Boston. His books include Pink X-Ray, Democracy of Secrets, Coyotes Circle the Party Store, Dancing School Nerves, An Evil Twin is Always in Good Company, and Away with Words. His new book, Momentary Turbulence, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press. His work has appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, The Los Angeles Times, The Potomac, Folio, decomP, Lunch Ticket, and other notable places. Brad blogs at and his website is: