The radio has to keep playing.

Car horns have to blast, the most

and the loudest you’ve ever heard at once.

Quickly, they have to be replaced

by a surge of metal static; metal on metal,

metal on asphalt, metal on fire, metal on body.

Inanimate materials have to sound

like they’re screaming. Your thoughts, too.

Your thoughts have to seem

like they’re being spoken aloud.

Your mouth can’t move. Your chest

can seize, but your jaw stays locked.

You have to breathe as if your body is

a suction vacuum hungry for sustenance.

Every time your heart beats, you have

to feel it bruise your ribs. Everything

has to be an ocean. Wild.

At night, where there is no beauty.

Everything must be at war.

Maybe there is no winner,

but there is always a cost.

The radio has to keep playing.

It keeps playing. It keeps playing.

Only then will you catch it by a thread

before it darts away. A shiver within you,

throbbing like something newborn.

So subtle. So disbelieving.



Natasha Bredle is an emerging writer based in Cincinnati. Her work has been featured in publications such as Words and Whispers, The Lumiere Review, and The Madrigal. She has received accolades from the Bennington College Young Writers Awards as well the Adroit Prizes. In addition to poetry and short fiction, she has a passion for longer works and is currently drafting a young adult novel.