starsObserve and Report

by J. Bradley

Neil looks at the stars through my empty Corona bottle. I point at a cluster: “Belt buckle.” I point at another cluster: “Shotgun shell.”

“What are they really?”

With the right things in him, my father became an astronomer. He classified whatever he pointed me to look at: dented soda can, a falling TV, a stabbed screen door where mosquitoes bled into the house.

I place my hand on Neil’s shoulder, grip until I can see him wince. “When you’re old enough, whatever you want them to be.”


 J. Bradley is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle; he lives at
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