Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature




All We Have To Go On

1. Enigma Machine

Making sense of your wants is playing charades without the rules, making socks without the pattern, packing clothes without a box. Do you want dinner, a toy, a bath? It's CIA–grade guesswork. Your needs—love, food, motion, sleep—appear simple, but your silence lends them complexity. I hope you speak up soon. Life's existential desires—peace, war, freedom—are bigger than the poor words I can provide for you.

2. Green Eyed Monster

I see another child with his parents on the bus; his flow of questions splashes envious red against me. "Why? What's that, daddy? How come?"
I want to distill his words into a concentrate and feed it to you, drop by drop. Probably other parents see us traveling and wish for a cup of your silence to soothe themselves. If we mixed you both together, what would we get?

3. Precarious, Comfortable Future

In the end, you are less concerned than all of us. Your muteness lends itself to maddening mysteries and unique end–runs around language—you are the observer, listening never speaking, a giant ear synthesizing sounds, digesting them and spitting them back at us again. You sing Walt Whitman's body — new millennium, the body quantum. What do you think, little one? What ticks and clicks inside your head? Can't say.

Leah Meredith is a Canadian expat with physical and psychological disabilities living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and autistic son. Her fiction has appeared in Electric Mandolin: this is her first creative nonfiction publication.

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