Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature


Making Tracks

By Glenda Barrett

I couldn't stifle the urge
to hike mountain trails,
raft rugged rivers,
picnic in the park,
fish mountain streams,
swim under waterfalls
and bask in the sun
on large, flat rocks
while really listening
to the birds singing
as if it was critical
to my survival.

Looking back,
after my excursions,
my instincts were right.

No longer can I walk
the steep mountain paths
or wade through trout streams
but no resentment abides
for I savored my journeys.

The scent of wild honeysuckle,
and the taste of clear spring water
etched clearly in my mind,
now flow freely from pen
to paper, and with my readers
my journeys continue.


By Glenda Barrett

Shedding a heavy winter,
I slowly inched my way
back into the world.

I looked anew at
the wild purple violets,
white dogwood blossoms,
and dandelions nodding
among new blades of grass.

I felt I had been
on the longest journey
through the stages of grief.

As I looked with awe
at the dove on my birdfeeder,
I realized I no longer needed
the answers to my questions.

They were too small anyway.
Now my prayer would be,
Thy will be done.

Battle Scars

By Glenda Barrett

In a crowded fair ground,
a man in a booth selling baskets
gives me an understanding smile.
Knowingly, I smile back in return.

In earlier days, I might have ignored it
but not anymore. I've learned to
look deeper and listen closer
before coming to hasty conclusions.

I've learned what looks fragile
can be a warrior in disguise,
one who has known great suffering,
fallen to their knees more than once
and crawled around a while before
making the upward climb.

One who has been brave enough
to stare all kinds of pain in the face,
feeling its fury before letting it go.

One who has learned acceptance
and at last a quiet joy and peace
indestructible in any circumstance
given by the Great Source of Life.

Before driving away on my scooter,
I give the man a farewell smile.
Proudly, he waves from his wheelchair
as if to say, We've fought the battle and won!

Glenda Barrett, a native of North Georgia, is an artist, poet, and writer. Her writing has appeared in Woman's World, Farm & Ranch Living, Nostalgia, Living With Loss, Rural Heritage, Kaleidoscope, Red River Review, Mindprints Journal, and others. Her first chapbook, "When the Sap Rises," has recently been published by Finishing Line Press and is available on Amazon.com.

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