{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Shaune Bornholdt

is a psychologist who lives in New York City.

Her poems have appeared in American Arts Quarterly, Hanging Loose, The Schuylkill Valley Journal, and other venues.

She is enrolled in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine

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At the Nursing Home

Whom should I blame? Heredity? Or you.
I know I can’t say that. What can I feel?
We never talked. Not really. Not enough.
Now, when I’ve found my voice, you’ve lost your mind.
My fault, then. I did this. Stop. That’s nuts.
It’s just, I’m scared. Momentum’s picking up—
Is your long slippage prelude to my own?
Please look at me. We’ll kiss it, make it better.
Well, next time, then. You’re tired. I’m not myself.

I have to fix your chair. They’ll come for you
and wheel you to the dining room at five.
Please don’t make those sounds. Here’s a kiss.
Here is your baby doll. She loves you, too.
This kitty cat’s fur is soft, it’s nylon plush,
and see, the label has your name on it.
Mine, too. The family name. Don’t pull. Don’t pull.
These straps stay buckled. They’re to keep you safe.
If it’s warm enough next week, I’ll take you out
to see the iris blooming in the court.
Would you like that? It’s OK not to talk.