Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature


A Sense Of A Man

By Stephanie Green

Today I have a sense of a man on the corner
a man I walk past ever so often
click-clacking along as I do
that scent of unwashed whiskers, his razor blunt
from scraping forty years of dirt off his shoes
clasping fingers that reach, grasping at that innate
logic of superiority, but I know where I am heading
I am never lost

Today I have a sense of a man who wonders
how I can walk so fast with that stick
and I always have some place to be
although, he has his little corner
sitting by that concrete garden
Today I can smell the ocean, clear and salty and refreshingly cold
but perhaps…that’s his lunch cocooned inside
Yesterday’s news

Tomorrow I have a sense of a man who’s missing
from his corner, but he’s just down the road
putting his name down to break apples
from branches, lifting boxes for old ladies, flipping burgers
for Jesus. He followed where I led
He followed and he said
"for You know where you’re heading
you are never lost."

You and You

By Stephanie Green

Night envelopes a quiet suburb
and inside a box high above a messy
garage, we sleep - and dream perhaps -
fingers entwined, ambling thin lines
between this world and another, more fragile
existence. Turning, you sigh, you and your eyelids flutter
against my shoulder and an arm casually
gropes for my hip bone

such a feeling of content, as a cold orange juice on a hot day
as the first spin of a new CD, or the smell of a fresh dug grave In spring. Such a feeling, as you and your finger traces my navel, as
> we link arms and walk away from those who disbelieve us
- as we shake off the sunshine and step into the deep -
submersing darkness. Soft clouds of grey hues, and grey on
grey on grey, swarm about, and a vivid moon dances
patterns over the bedsheets

and a creeper, branches unfurling
climbs through the lattices
within me, I’ve waited, such antici…
pation. My, how I have grown and aged, and my face feels old and withered
and my eyes are tired, and long for sleep
yet you and you believe I am beautiful, and can’t sleep
yet, not until you have seen me safely into
effervescence - the world beyond.

your eyes rest not, vigilant
doing the work of two
and I, I will cook you dinner, burning my finger
on the stovetop, and I will give you love
enduring, and I, I will water the creepers
so they will never wilt

You, You and You, I can see
in all the colours in existance
in all the beautiful hues of grey and grey and grey, You,
You I do love. Beside you I do sleep this night


By Stephanie Green

My essay once resided
in my head, with all my other meandering thoughts
about the government and how they could control us
by injecting mind serum into the boxes on pedestrian crossings
so when you put your finger on the button,
that would inject the serum,
then they could tell you to do things
and you would have to do them
whether you wanted to or not, and whether
my boyfriend’s t-shirt really says
"and your point is…?"
"andy, our point is…?"
which means something completely different
and just who is this andy?
He’s been at the cheerios again
and what’s all this fuss about global warming
although it is harder to sleep at night
now that my torso sticks to the mattress…

my essay was written
on a university laptop
thanks to Mr. Gates’ delightful program
with it’s concise and accurate spellchecker

My essay now resides
in a brown cubby hole
with the class timetable
and maybe a forlorn love letter
and one of those forms that students fill in
when they’ve had a cold and don’t want to sit
the exam, and they go to the Doctor and cough, and splutter
and feign a headache, and nausea, and talk about their stressful lovelife, and the Doctor, who really needs a coffee
because they’d been late to work that morning and starbucks was out
of that caramel stuff
- takes pity, and signs, even though they know the student is faking it
oh, I do hope my essay is ok

I had a form to fill out once
when Richard died
I had an A plus

Now my essay is gone
and I feel kind of empty inside
but next week, I have an exam
and a real headache

Stephanie Green is a vision-impaired writer who lives in New Zealand with her cantankerous drummer husband and a cupboard full of swords. By day, she transcribes braille and produces large-print and audio books. By night, she tears up the mosh pit at her local heavy metal bar. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Lachryma: Journal of Lament Literature, Otoliths and Haruah. Her blog may be viewed at bookbogan.livejournal.com

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