I loosen the bolts keeping the training wheels fastened to Neil’s bicycle. I wonder whether the terror will creep up the same way it did for me as I watched my training wheels loosen, then clatter on the street. Will Neil ignore the applause, the encouragement as he struggles to keep his bicycle upright and moving forward?
I never let Neil ride on the street. I never let Neil ride without his helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and gloves. Neil fights me every time I make him wear them, even after I point out the ae scar on my forehead. I never tell him how my father watched my blood trickle down the gutter, how the whiskey burned on the cut, down my throat.
About the Author:
J. Bradley is a writer based out of Orlando, FL. He is the author of the graphic poetry collection, The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), with art by Adam Scott Mazer, and the forthcoming Yelp review prose poem collection Pick How You Will Revise A Memory (Robocup Press, 2016). His chapbook, Neil, won Five [Quarterly]'s 2015 e-Chapbook Contest for Fiction. He runs the Central Florida-based reading series/chapbook publisher There Will Be Words and lives here.