Breath & Shadow

A collection of my poems, some dark, some on the lighter side, some new, some previously published, and some I like to call "Brautigans," after one of my favorite poets. Hope you'll enjoy them!


Author's note

Copyright © 2018 Antoinette McCormick

All rights reserved. This e-book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

17. Trespass (Haibun)

A circle of stones, charred sticks, and broken bottles beneath a sign riddled with bullet holes. We mount a steep incline where the road tightens and twists around leaning hemlocks and fallen boulders before it levels off, a sea of thistles and witchgrass. The barn roof's collapsed since we picked fiddleheads at the Poremsky place but the old farmhouse still stands.

weathered leather boot
still shadows, empty doorway
what are you guarding?

John says his grandfather grew up here: fishing, hunting, foraging--as we are now. Now it's all part of Pond Hill Ranch: farm and forest just blue lines on a trail map. We clear cobweb curtains from a broken window.

dusty piano
an orchestra of grapevines
scaling silences

We trade mosquitoes for horse flies, separate paths: puffballs for John, wild blackberries for me. "Be careful up there," he says, scanning the knoll beneath the hazy sky, "it's bear weather." I see only tufts of coarse hair caught in a rusted fence and laugh.

a crow, a long lake
a pail of wild blackberries
which holds more darkness?

A slab of puffball pan-seared in butter, chocolate torte with spiked blackberry coulis: what we take is worth the risk for a taste of the wild things growing in wild and lonely places. Places growing ever fewer and farther between.

a game of thieves, thorns
warning notes in verdigris  
the buzzing locusts.

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