Shaune Bornholdt

        by Shaune Bornholdt

My brother walked the barn beam first, then Orrin.
I straddled it and inched across, height-sick.
Splinters jabbed my thighs. They pulled me up
into the dangerous place you're not supposed to go to,
with the seething, mote filled light, the rotten floor,
(way down, through holes, the backs of stanchioned cows),
and pigeon eggs under the eaves.

It was itchy-hot. In the loft we played
Jump the holes, and Who can bounce on the rotten plank,
and I took off the coral cardigan mom cable stitched
for weeks, all the hours the baby
wasn't clamped on or wailing,
and I threw it like a flame on straw,
pearlescent buttons flashing.

We whooped and wheezed,
threw straw till we were ribbed with dust and sweat,
till my brother tripped and slammed the barnside wall.
Wasps flew out from their mud-made pipes
and stung Orrin's arm with three quick stings.
We got out fast the ordinary way, over the side,
clambering, hands and feet in the wall's cut notches.

I forgot the cardigan.
Moths got it.
When I finally found it, it was
too awful to touch, live with larvae.
I held it by one cuff and shook them off,
and took it home to her.

© Shaune Bornholdt.
"Cardigan" first appeared in Umbrella, Issue No 9. Spring 2009.

Shaune Bornholdt is a poet who was raised in the country, lives in New York City, and hangs out in the Catskills at a place that's called The Land. After her retirement as a psychologist who worked primarily with children, she completed the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Southern Maine. Her work has been published in American Arts Quarterly, Hanging Loose, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Measure, The Raintown Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and in online journals. In the fall, in addition to writing poetry, she plans to return to individual work with children with learning problems.

Rondout Reservoir as seen from Meditation Rock on The Land. The cabin here is off the grid. It's a peaceful place for writing on an old Smith Corona.

Links to poems:

The Boy in the Well
At The Nursing Home
Snow White in Middle Age
Crack the Whip
Elderberry Picking in Childhood
The Old Therapists
The City's April 2020, seen from August
The Attempt
Milestones: A Father's Story
On Reading the Tractatus Out Loud
Concerning Wild Carrot
In the Philadelphia 30th Street Station:
                    My Father's Ceiling

Copyright © for each of the above poems remains with Shaune Bornholdt.