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The Breakfast Piece

Web of unturned matter
smoldering in the yard.
A flame in the compost

or a molten tongue
that starts the dog barking.
Abortus tranquillus.

Every day now:
a before or an after.
Or, an endless encore.

Born in a long hall
under a burnishing moon.
Go to your room. Go to your

room and stay there.
Look at your tongue: tiger
stripes up and down –

Bearer of sorrow, curl up
your muddy  locks
and worm away.

I’m not the one
to teach you
how to walk.

I have been
mopping up after you
all these days.


Milk crusting
in a cereal bowl.
Figs like little death’s-

heads left, predictably,
untouched. A paper cup
berthed in its own spilt pool.

A still life
of the widespread type –
The Breakfast Piece –

that, in their rush
to school, the boys
lightly abandoned.  

Remnants of a meal
or of a life? In all of our
formal studies, always

the latter. Pieces unexpectedly
arranged and surfacing
like orphans wanting care.

We move as if across
an oily canvas
to wash them, wash them.


Copyright © 2015 M. B. McLatchey.  All rights reserved.

Published in The Drunken Boat, Fall 2015.

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