Breath & Shadow
A Journal of Disability Culture and LiteratureSummer 2016
Breath and Shadow
Volume 13, Number 3
The Loose Palace of Exile by John Thomas Allen
How does one discern between a learning disorder like NVLD (non verbal learning disorder), which is rightfully characterized by experts like Byron Rourke and Pia Savage as a series of frustrating, often maladapting traits which should be addressed in early adolescence, and other disorders which are more pro social and adaptive to the environment society presents us with?
As is usually the case, lived experience trumps all else. This is the purpose of all the wild, sometimes dismal, stories I have provided. My inpatient experiences at New York State Psychiatic Institute have a purpose in their telling: how does an outwardly "normal" adolescent, without considering it on any core level abnormal, end up in a locked state psych ward with nothing but a small mood disorder?
Schizophrenic Meadow by Todd Hanks
There’s a meadow where sanity departs,
On a planet inside my heart,
A field inside my mind’s deep space,
Where lucidity is erased...
Helping Granpa Eat by Edward M. Turner
Rosemary fled the kitchen, ran through both the dining room and the living room past Grandpa watching TV, and out the screen door to the porch. The screen door hung open and slowly swung shut with a bang. Quiet descended as if invisible dust settled after the passing of a rogue summer windstorm.
Grandpa got up and went out to the kitchen. Grandma and his daughter Thelma sat at the supper table. Potatoes boiled on the gas stove.
"What was that all about?" Grandpa asked.
This Body, Inheritance By Hayley Mitchell Haugen
Where are your ears?
I ask my niece at fourteen months,
and she grasps them in a vice-grip of hands.
Her nose she finds easily
with one steady, sober finger,
and at night she brushes her six small teeth,
smiling at her mother, waiting for the praise
that follows this big event...
Distractions by Diane Baumer
Steps. Words in a sentence,letters in a word, number of lines in a paragraph. Floor tiles, ceiling lights, slats that make up a window blind.
I count. Anything and everything. Odd is better than even(always) except when I'm counting with my hands or feet -- then, the counting always has to start right and end left, which makes the number even. I think that has something to do with coming full circle, with closing an opening. But whatever it is, I usually tap out an extra, so there is an odd number to finish. Evens seem so very, very unlucky.
Sonata by Ana Garza G’z
When he was younger he “gave music
lessons to a blind kid who could hear a piece and play it
exactly.” He tells me because I’m blind. I almost say
I had lessons too, an upright piano
and sheet music on my lap, hours of fingers scrabbling
over crisp paper, over keys, left hand, right hand…
The Space Between by Jane Ammon
Companions by Nina Fosati
I stand at the edge of the pool looking down at the clear, blue water. Five steps, that’s all it takes. Five steps and I will feel better. Aqua therapy pools are rare in Western New York. This one is perhaps rarest of all. It has a treadmill submerged in one corner. My son and I searched for weeks for one I felt safe entering. Stairs and ladders are difficult for me. We decided this one suits me best.
Three Tanka by Sergio Ortiz
I fled the claws
of dragonflies, that’s to say
I saw a woman
singing to her shadow
she sounded just like me
One Of Those Days by C. Borden
There are days when getting out of bed makes my head hurt just thinking about it. You know those days. They are the days when every muscle in your body is screaming, telling you to keep your butt right where it is. The days when moving even the tiniest bit is like moving a dead body. Oh wait. That is my body.
Concierge By Freedom Chevalier
calloused, cracked knuckles defend
against dawn's first flush
chipped nails trim grime-washed
palms, eager to work
tuck shirttail into too-big trousers, straighten frayed cuffs without sleeve-buttons;
hold open doors.
Blinded by Communism: A Review
by Chris Kuell
Despite being unemployable, he is taxed at the same rate the state calculates an average person in his village would be. Or, often more. He complains, and fights for his rights. He fights for the rights of others like him. He is imprisoned for more than four years for ‘disturbing the peace’.