Amanda J. Bradley

The Nasty Little Poem

I wrote a nasty little poem.
It was about you and the way
you said these hollow things
to me over the years.
It was about how invisible
and mute that made me feel.
In it, I quoted you back to you –
an attempt to make you feel
insubstantial, too. Like I said,
it was a nasty little poem.

I reminded you that you implied
I’m a drama queen, which I noted
struck me as ironic, borderline comical.
Actually, let’s just laugh at that one,
shall we? Come on, be a sport.

I noted the string of best friends
I’ve lost and, in the poem, I suggested
perhaps that was your fault. In this poem,
I will shoulder some of that blame.
In this poem, I will also blame losing
a husband on you and thank you
because I gained another.

The nasty little poem wondered
at how many dead slaves, how many
dead wives suffered entire lives
before we started to realize that
we aren’t really born equal.
I can’t remember how it got there –
something to do with you,
but I threw the poem out.

There was a line about how I eat
guilt for breakfast, guzzle it by
the liter. The poem blamed you
for making my life not about me.
“I trudge through my days
in my skin,” it said, “but my life
Is yours.” Maybe that’s where the
slaves and wives came in.
It was a nasty little poem.


Amanda J. Bradley is the author of three books of poems: Queen Kong (2017), Oz at Night (2011), and Hints and Allegations (2009). She has published poetry and essays in many journals including Paterson Literary Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Kin Poetry Journal, Rattle, The New York Quarterly, and Poetry Bay. Amanda is a graduate of the MFA program at The New School, and she holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an Associate Professor at Keystone College outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania.