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Breath & Shadow

Fall 2019 - Vol. 16, Issue 4

"You Ask Me Why I Wear Bright Colors"

written by

Jennifer Bradpiece

Pain is vivid--


the vibrant teal and fuchsia of veins.


The crimson gush of persimmon


down the chin or forearm, the golden puss


as a scab bubbles the skin inside out,


the snap of bone that scintillates


in kaleidoscopic fractals behind the eyes,


throbbing bruises of tangerine and periwinkle


as skull-bone or knee-joint knocks


into shelf edge or desk leg.


The plum kiss left behind on elbow


or hip-bone.



When the vibrant colors dissolve,


dimness reigns-


the faded blues of ice packs,


taupe heating pad covers,


dull crimping aches that cloud mind, fog motion.


The skin is a pin cushion for metallic gray


needles delivering clear cortisone elixirs.


Amber prescription bottles, the muted pills:


pillows of white, pale blue, butter yellow—


the oblong, the round, the capsule.



Now, place your head to my chest


and listen: the sound inside

is the peacock's cry—strangled.

Jennifer Bradpiece was born and raised in the multifaceted muse, Los Angeles, where she still resides. She remains active in the Los Angeles writing and art scene. Jennifer has interned at Beyond Baroque, and often collaborates with multi-media artists on projects.

Her poetry has been published in various anthologies, journals, and online zines, including Redactions, Mush Mum, and The Common Ground Review. She has poetry forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, Stimulus Respond, and The Bacopa Literary Review, among others. In 2016, Jennifer's manuscript, Lullabies for End Times, was acknowledged as one of the final ten favorites in the Paper Nautilus Debut Series Chapbook Contest.

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