M.B. McLatchey

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.

M.B. McLatchey

M. B. McLatchey is a 2015 Florida Poet Laureate Nominee and recipient of the 2011 American Poet Prize. She is the author of two books of poetry, The Lame God (Utah State University Press) for which she won the 2013 May Swenson Award and Advantages of Believing (Finishing Line Press) forthcoming in July 2015. Excerpts from her recently-completed memoir, Beginner’s Mind, have been published in MEMOIR(and) and were awarded the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award. Currently, she is Associate Professor of Humanities at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. More information can be found at her website: www.mbmclatchey.com.