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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2012 - Vol. 9, Issue 2

"Sharp", "Shallow Six", and "Age 10: Sorting the Dead"

written by

Brock Marie Moore



the fishing lures have lured

his daughter again.

she floats down the aisles, trailing

small hands in the bins of rubber worms,

her head a damp wisp of dandelion

caught in an unfelt breeze.


these false nightcrawlers, their soft

clear bodies alive with iridescence,

have a hedonistic texture

that draws small fingers: the squish,

the stretch, the wriggle and writhe.


"electric grape" - she reads the name

of a violet worm gorged with glitter,

then twirls away, caught in the mirrored shine

of prismatic spoons with seed-bead eyes,

flies in hot pink hula skirts,

feathers achingly soft.


he has warned her of the hooks;

still she wanders the aquarium of painted plastic

fish motionless in their blister packs,

treble barbs dangling beneath peach bellies,

a feast of stripes and dots

on forms that rattle, click, and croak.


her father cannot pull her back.

may her fingers be careful, clever,

and lucky.



"shallow six"


xanax drowns the witch

reverses her sleep spell, to unbind my real self

pushing the dark face back beneath

the lip of my heart's stone well


rage submerged, soothed

wetted in tepid waters

waveless and gray

(i plead they remain still and gray)


yet the cantrip of the small white pills

cannot hold her floating face, her teeth;

she will return

like a vengeful drowned spirit

dripping lake muck and rotten, ever

bent on my destruction


this witch twinned and humped backward

inside my body - angrier now,

chanting loud, her grip between my bones


my own jenny green teeth

the rusalka of my murdered soul



"age 10, sorting the dead"


on toetips

i slip a thin arm through the cage door   

  sleeve snagging   

  on ill-clipped teeth of wire

my hand dipping like a dove in the mouth of the kindling box

expecting either the empty bowl of nest

lined with wood peelings   

  trampled straw   

  gifted tufts of belly fur

or the hot crepe-skin of newborns

sleeping mounded


my fingers tenderly tap, stroke each unseen form

gauging heat and small struggles

reluctantly seeking a lone cold body

already going stiff at the nest's edge


such are gently withdrawn


in the weeds outside


mother rabbit's eyes watch me

  globes of wet fear glazed

  with despondence

she turns to her bribe, green carrot-tops

and sweet grass

Brock Marie Moore lives in South Texas with her dog, Chester. When not writing, she is working to finish her Master's degree in library science, visiting various doctors concerning her BPD, anxiety spectrum disorder and TMJD, or getting distracted with sci-fi video games. Please visit her at

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