What You Should Know (The Nile)
by John Bradley
The Nile, as seen from above, weighs 12.80 sidereal ounces. 1,280 tons of cricket parts.
128.0159 billion silted vowels. Laden with insoluble sleep.
That watch at the bottom of the glass of water that gives the exact moment an axe blossoms in
the Nile. So that a piano tuner plays underwater. Feather and nether. An undertaker bee from
before the unraveling. That speck of an ant that calls forth a bird that sings of a spore that will be
found in your next syllable.
Photo: The Nile as someone’s curiously flavorless forearm. Photo: The Nile seeping from holes
in your fedora. Photo: The Nile sleeping in your mother’s mother’s nightgown. Photo: A herd
of inflatable poets sipping from the Nile.
What you should know: A voice with no roots pushing out. I place my hand over the hole and
hold my breath. Then I hear the voice coming out of a bough just behind. The voice holds on to
one word, one sound, and keeps prolonging it, past what’s discernible. It’s either moonrobe or
moonwarble. Moonventricle or maybe moonverde. Oh, I stood under the bough until the voice
came out of my foot. My ankle, my leg. I turned around. The voice, as it passed, did not
Any fool can find ten hungry flies, she tells me, picking at her salad. Someone, dear mouth, must
be told. That fleeing substance called oracular leakage.
The composer stated, I was dissecting a crow’s throat at the time. Moonsoaked or moonbloat.
The plumber whistled, tingling the air, which slipped far down the dim drain. Moonspittle or
moonstippled. No one remembered to measure said defendant’s right arm. For so many solar
The Nile weighs 12.80 pulsations per millisecond. 12.80 tons of cricket halleluiahs. 12.80
humming hummingbird parsecs. The Nile tickling your aorta as you hear this. Making sure you
breathe in and through. Whatever it is that sleep cannot dissolve.
John Bradley has published in Calibanonline, DMQ Review, Hotel Amerika, Lake Effect, Otoliths, SurVision, and elsewhere. His Hotel Montparnasse: Letters to Cesar Vallejo (Dos Madres Press) is a verse novel about the Peruvian poet, apparently confined to a hotel near his grave. John’s collection Dear Morpheus, The Glue That Is You is due 2023 from Dos Madres. He’s the poetry editor of Cider Press Review.