Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Flower of the Field


I did not want to be a girl.
Girl was always a trap door
or a creeping hand.


A boy once called my body
a sad work as I raised my head
from between his knees.


I said nothing.


Instead I tried to crawl
inside the body of the boy
pulling my tongue across
the plane of his taste.


I came out a mouth full of soiled
flowers crushed under his heel.


Imagine the child in bloom,
how easy she was to bow,
like ripping a handful of flowers up
from their roots


I let the hair grow wild now,
gripping the tuft of it
from my chin between my fingers.


The harder I become to explain
the safer I am.

Jari Bradley is a poet and scholar from San Francisco, California currently working on their masters degree in Ethnic Studies with an emphasis in both Africana and Sexuality studies at San Francisco State University. Their work focuses on similar themes. Jari is a 2015 Callaloo fellow and has most recently participated in the Interdisciplinary Writers Lab: For Emerging Writers of Color. Their work has been published in Callaloo and Nomadic Ground Press.