Living Thing

by TR Brady

I am so pink like a baby and want none of it. Yet, here I am, vanishing nothing. SK, stoking the fire. There is a bucket of pinecones on the porch. The crow on the awning tells me nothing. A breeze sweeps across the lawn, tricks me to bending into SK. I rub my buzzcut to their buzzcut and nothing ignites. The bucket of pinecones is misplaced here. I collected them into the bucket to save them from the lawnmower. SK throws one of the pinecones on the fire, yawns. 

“The eagles are nesting again,” I tell SK. “I went down to the river landing to see them but—” 

“Only seagulls?” SK asks. 

“They’re so ugly,” I say. 

“So ugly.” 

“And the dam kept churning and churning and—” I start. 

“You couldn’t see yourself in the water.” SK says. 

“I couldn’t see myself in the water.” 

I don’t laugh. SK peels a few scales away from the stem of a cone, collects them on their lap. The river water had been so fast and foaming. 

“What do you do with the debris,” I ask. 

“Tell it it’s okay to go back to go back to its body.” 

I pull the ends of my nails off and add them to the pile of wood in SK’s lap. 

“I probably shouldn’t have brought you back to life,” I tell SK’s shoulder. 

SK brushes their little lap pile into their hand and tosses it into the fire. Takes another pinecone out of the bucket and starts pushing the scales out. 


TR Brady is a poet and fiber artist based in Iowa City. TR’s work has appeared in Poetry Daily, Denver Quarterly, Paperbag, Bennington Review, and Copper Nickel. TR holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the co-founder/co-editor of Afternoon Visitor, a new journal of poetry and hybrid text.