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Poetry Breakfast

Serving a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry book reviews to feed poets' and poetry lovers' souls.

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Tricia McCallum

Funeral Sandwiches by Tricia McCallum

Funeral Sandwiches

It comes down to the ceremony now, the detail.
Pressing your shirt with the cutaway collar, not too much starch,
the way you liked it.
I sent the shoes that were a bit small,
but they were so fine-looking and you would approve.
At the last minute I remembered your favourite photo of all of us
for tucking into your suit jacket pocket.

Now to prepare the food for the mourners,
sandwiches to begin.
Made differently today,
the correct word is painstakingly.
The butter must be spread
to each and every corner of the bread,
sliced precisely
from freshly-baked loaves.

Heap both sides of the bread lavishly with spreads,
no scrimping.
No celery, you hated it.
Remove the crusts:
Sacrilege in these parts.

Assemble them ever so gently
before making the final cuts
into perfect quarters.
Clean the knife after each one.
Display them proudly
on my most treasured serving pieces.
And cloth napkins.
Only cloth.

All is ready.
Invite them in.
Let me get it right
this once.

 

About the Poet:
Tricia McCallum, a Glasgow-born Canadian, is an award-winning writer and poet and frequent Huffington Post Blogger. She is the author of two books of poetry: The Music of Leaving (Demeter Press, 2014) and Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered in 2011. McCallum also publishes fiction. Her short story “Clutter” won a Toronto Star award for fiction writing. But her unrivalled passion is poetry and is particularly proud to have twice won the member-voted poetry competition at goodreads.com. Her poems are about commonplace things, McCallum says, but she adds that they are not necessarily simple. “The abstract never drew me,” McCallum explains. “I don’t think in those terms. The day-to-day world and all its supposed mundane detail provides me more than I need. “To me it’s not mundane. To me it’s magic.” Read more of Tricia’s work at:
www.triciamccallum.com
www.huffingtonpost/triciamccallum

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

Photo by Milada Vigerova

The Sleepover by Tricia McCallum

The Sleepover
by Tricia McCallum

A Friday morning, Grade Six, and all
anyone could hear was the conspiratorial talk of the girls’ sleepover
planned for that night.
I kept waiting for the tap on my shoulder,
the invite whispered in my ear.
Stayed close to the girl’s cabal
at recesses and long after school until it finally sunk in.
My face in the pillow that night, the fear I would drown
in my tears.
There were a thousand little deaths,
strung out until morning.
How can such moments not define us?
Not ruin us
for anything good
that might ever come after.

A Glasgow-born Canadian, Tricia McCallum is the author of a sequence of poems, essays and photos entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered.” (2011). Her poems “Thirst” and “There’s Always the Guy” were chosen by readers at goodreads.com as the winners of the poetry competition in December, 2011, and in May, 2012. Two of her poems, “Following Seas” and “The Gift of Donovan,” appeared in the first issue of the quarterly poetry e-zine called IMPpress. Tricia’s poem “The Island Dog” will be included in “Estuary,” an international poetry and visual arts album to be printed in England in December.

Tricia invites you to read more of her work at www.triciamccallum.com

Too Late Tomorrow by Tricia McCallum

Too Late Tomorrow
by Tricia McCallum

Fates ride on little moments.

Outcomes of entire lives can rest
on the seemingly miniscule.
Fresh from another of her parent’s brawls
the little girl shuffles to school.
She needs a sign today
that the world is a safe place,
something better awaits.

This one afternoon in her life
could turn her around,
steer her through the minefields.
A comforting word,
a warm glance her way,
the right things happening
at just the right time.

You know this little girl: Watch for her:
The window is narrow.
But you are powerful.
She is waiting,
for the smallest,
the sweetest of mercies
to be saved.


A Glasgow-born Canadian, Tricia McCallum is the author of a sequence of poems, essays and photos entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered.”(2011). Her poems “Thirst” and “There’s Always the Guy” were chosen by readers at goodreads.com as the winners of the poetry competition in December, 2011, and in May, 2012. Two of her poems, “Following Seas” and “The Gift of Donovan,” appeared in the first issue of the quarterly poetry e-zine called IMPpress.

Tricia invites you to read more of her work at www.triciamccallum.com

The Island Dog by Tricia McCallum

The Island Dog
by Tricia McCallum

He is everyone’s,
Yet he is no one’s.
Vacationers arrive, discover him,
dote on him for two weeks,
then disappear.

He is their holiday project,
a story they’ll tell over dinner at home.
Some allow him in, to sleep at the foot of their beds,
to guard their front door,
Some even toy with the idea of a rescue,
Could we, should we? Shots? Papers?
Questions asked
with the exuberance of the relaxed and the happy,
but as the time to leave draws near,
reality encroaches, the idea stalls.

A new band takes their place.
The island dog waits,
knowing it will take only one,
one, to give him a name that won’t change,
one, to call it out in the dark
should he wander too far.
one, to call to him
and him alone:
Come home.

A Glasgow-born Canadian, Tricia McCallum is the author of a sequence of poems, essays and photos entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered.”(2011). Her poems “Thirst” and “There’s Always the Guy” were chosen by readers at goodreads.com as the winners of the poetry competition in December, 2011, and in May, 2012. Two of her poems, “Following Seas” and “The Gift of Donovan,” appeared in the first issue of the quarterly poetry e-zine called IMPpress.

Tricia invites you to read more of her work at www.triciamccallum.com

Perfectly Sad by Tricia McCallum

Perfectly Sad
by Tricia McCallum

The swing set across the road creaks and sways
This January morning.
It paints the perfect picture of sadness,
A textbook definition for anyone to see.
As if in collusion with the light and wind
It sits there in stark detail against the bleak horizon,
Snow collecting in its rusted joints.

The for sale sign on the neglected lawn,
The gargantuan uprooted tree by the river
Hanging on by its sinewy tortured roots,
They too know.
The man alone in the coffee shop
Reading yet not reading,
The woman at the bus stop in the cold,
Her broken shoes,
Her cheap handbag held hard against her heart,
Shaking her head,
No, no, no.

A Glasgow-born Canadian, Tricia McCallum is the author of a sequence of poems, essays and photos entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered.” (2011).

Her short stories and poetry have appeared in various literary journals and have won contests, been anthologized in collections and appeared in newsstand magazines. Her poem “Thirst” was recently voted the winner by readers in the goodreads.com monthly competition.

Of her diverse, if unpredictable, career, Tricia says: “Poetry is my absolute passion, my life raft really. Meanwhile, for a living, I’ve written about everything from life insurance fraud and spark plugs to employment equity and Quonset huts. Think there’s a connection there somewhere?”

Says Tricia, “I’ve always simply loved to write. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Tricia invites you to read more of her work at www.triciamccallum.com

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