Shaune Bornholdt




Cardigan
        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.

"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. She recently completed the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Southern Maine. Her poems have appeared in American Arts Quarterly, Hanging Loose, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Measure, The Raintown Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and in online journals. She was a finalist in the 2012 Morton Marr poetry contest. She is also a psychologist who has worked primarily with children. In the fall, she plans to offer poetry workshops in elementary schools in the New York City area.


Rondout Reservoir as seen from Meditation Rock on The Land. There is no electricity here, but an old Smith Corona works fine.

Links to poems:

The Boy In the Well
Elderberry Picking in Childhood
Lullaby
The Old Therapists
Milestones: A Father's Story
On Reading the Tractatus Out Loud
Teen Fair, In Lair
Snow White, In Middle Age: To Her Step-Mother
Crack The Whip
Postscript
Concerning Wild Carrot
The Climb to the Lake
At The Nursing Home
In the Philadelphia 30th Street Station:
                    My Father's Ceiling