Breath & Shadow
A Journal of Disability Culture and LiteratureWinter 2016
Breath and Shadow
Volume 13, Number 1
Lessons from the Gimp Ghetto by Heidi Johnson-Wright
Being a gimp doesn’t mean you ain’t a gimp hater.
By the time I graduated from high school, I’d already been disabled for a decade. My assailant was rheumatoid arthritis. The disease caused my immune system to launch an absurd attack on my body, and destroyed my joints with lightning speed. At 18, I still walked as much as I could, but I sometimes had to use a wheelchair. I hated the damn thing, and hid it in the corner of my room.
After the ER Waiting Out a Storm in a Trailer by Kitty Eppard
she knows everything raging out there
everything twisting inside the sudden knocking
shifts in the siding clicks like desperate rodents
she knows what she can let in and what must be kept away…
Seeking the Seal by Katy Wimhurst
A cumulus cloud drifts across a clear spring sky. To Alana, resting on her sofa, staring out of the window, it seems to be the shape of a seal with a God-like beard. A seal god, she thinks. What'd that be like? Would it ponder the divinity of diving, the worship of waters, the beatitudes of blubber?
The Special Ed Teacher Collects Dead Mice by Aleph Altman-Mills
She is made of toilet pipe rust.
She is shaped like a snake.
The first thing she did when she crawled out of the bowl is strangle a man and call it a hug.
She buried him in a prestigious cemetery and said she had made it possible for him to fulfill his dreams…
Seven Lessons I’m Learning from the Ocean by Wendy Kennar
The ocean has always enchanted me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m a Pisces. Maybe it’s simply that, near the ocean, I experience levels of awe, peace, contentment, and hope that I don’t experience on a regular basis during my day-to-day life.
My daily reality involves living in busy, crowded Los Angeles, bombarded by the sounds of helicopters, ambulances, and car alarms.
Time Well Spent by Emily Dorffer
Alan pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed at the blood at the corner of Amanda’s mouth. She whispered an apology before lapsing into another coughing fit. Only the black clock in the otherwise completely white hospital room watched them. Seconds marched past, each tick ringing in Alan’s ears like a funeral toll.
Set, Uncover, Dead Fly by Crimson Blackstone
The shroud fatigued
Busy gatherings draining mass beneath
Hiding immobility, burdening its whispers in the untold
Furrowing as wings folding around failing bonfires
Curling against the troubler in knowing ignorance
Lift the curious protrusions and hold in place its pasty platforms…
The River Voice by Madeleine parish
“Executive Summary. Marketing Strategy. Financial Analysis. Management and Advisory Personnel.”
As she made her way from her West Campus dorm to her Advanced Marketing Seminar on the Quad, Tran Huong Giang ticked off the sections of the business plan she had written for her final class project.
The app she had designed—called, “To You!”—would allow connection-starved millennials to send a drink to someone they’d spotted across a bar, someone they’d like to know, if they were too shy—or too cool—to introduce themselves the old-fashioned way.
Green Tongues, Ah, 50! by Louie Crew Clay
Welcome to half a century
I hit that mark 28 years ago.
Now I notice it mainly by a new spot
on my hand, a new mole around my eyelid,
a new sharpness in the lower right arm...
Romans Angry About the Inner World-And I Have Felt it by Lynda McKinney Lambert
“The Two Worlds” is a central theme in many poems written by American poet, author, and translator - Robert Bly.
I have been fascinated by Bly’s poetry since I was first introduced to it many years ago. There is always the image of a “world” or “The Two Worlds” in his work. And, along with the image of The Two Worlds is the implication that somehow there is a battle or tension between two worlds; or a conquest of one world over another. He speaks often of an “internal/inner” world and an “external/outer” world.