Cumulus by J. Bradley


Mitch and I put on our hazmat suits before we greet our mom. We coax mom into an aquarium we found at an estate sale and seal the lid with some duct tape. It’s big enough for her not to feel cramped when we carry her to the glass shed we had made after she caused the nursing home we tried putting her in to collapse. Mitch asks whether it’d be easier to let the wind carry her up to space and out of our lives and I say: ixnay on the arry cay ind way. Mom manages to eat away at the duct tape, uses a little of herself to try and burn through our suits.

Mitch and I can’t remember mom being what she used to be. We woke up 10 years ago and found her floating over our dad, his body melting into their bed. She cried so much, what was left of our dad and their bed fell into the kitchen. She hid under the house when the police came, threatened to wander through the city if we said anything. After the police left and couldn’t figure out what charges to file, she came to live with us.

I cover the part of the aquarium mom leaks from and we get it into the glass shed and close the door. We watch mom seep out of the aquarium and fill the glass shed. My hand doesn’t stop burning even after the chemical shower. We look over at the glass shed from our living room and mom’s bigger and thicker than she’s ever been, a catastrophe waiting for the right mistake to release her.




J. Bradley is the author of the novel The Adventures of Jesus Christ, Boy Detective (Pelekinesis, 2016) and the Yelp review prose poem collection Pick How You Will Revise A Memory(Robocup Press, 2016). He lives at


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