Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Winter 2015

Volume 12 Issue 1



Breath and Shadow
 Winter 2015

Volume 12 Issue 1

Absurdity for Drum and Glockenspiel, Reliquary by Robert L. Smith

While I've never actually seen

the offending instrument,

I've heard it often enough:

the high, metallic stammer

of the glockenspiel, like the oddly

disturbing song of some solitary child, wafting out of the JROTC room,

accompanied by a single faltering drum…

Click here to read Robert Smith’s poems

Buttons by E. Lewy

Doug's stomach flip-flopped. The official last day of summer before he started junior year was over. Now all he had left to do was somehow manage to get to sleep.

Well, there was one more thing.

He reached out, running a hand over the buttons on his backpack. Some of them could stay--like his dorky yellow peace sign, and the second one he had gotten that said Breathe Peace with a pair of lungs on either side of the sign, because why the hell not? His fingers even passed easily over a white square with the words in purple: I don't Know You Well Enough To Dumb Myself Down For You, his Stop Whining, Start Campaigning button, and the requisite I Heart NYs, of course. But his fingers hesitated over each of his rainbow buttons.

Click here to read E. Lewy’s short fiction

If You Care to Look… by Sean J. Mahoney


the people, stupid, guided past


wrapped round shrubs and


window frames gathering


for Mass but a celebration in song


the community file down aisles


the words of God ever make


appearance in lyric…

Click here to read Sean Mahoney’s poem

Songed to Silenced by Tasha Chemel

My father and I played and replayed the scene in the Little Mermaid

in which Ariel relinquishes her voice.

"Has she lost it?" I would ask.

"Not yet," my father would say. "Shhh. Listen."

And then we'd find that exact second

where the singing would cut off-

a mercifully sterilized transition…

Click here to read Tasha Chemel’s poem

The Alphabetical Prescription for Living With A Chronic Medical Condition by Wendy Kennar

During college I worked in a public library. The first five years of my teaching career were spent teaching kindergarten. In both instances, the alphabet was a large part of each of my days. As a result, I now tend to look at the world and want to alphabetize it.

Living with an autoimmune disease is unpredictable and uncontrollable in many respects. Yet, I am a person who strives for order. So, I have written the A to Z Prescription for living with, and coping with, a chronic medical condition.

Click here to read Wendy Kennar’s creative essay

Optimum Gratitude By Keith Nunes

feel it all the way to the bottom,

let it scald like a menopausal hot flash, sober and clean and steam-burn intense, the moment is held…

Click here to read Keith Nunes’ poem

Strange Fruit by Chris Kuell

I drove by the place three times before catching a glimpse of the overgrown path, barely visible through the tangles of honeysuckle. Perhaps it was my time in the city, but I was expecting a driveway, even though the parched mud flat I was driving on could hardly qualify as a road.

I pulled off into some tall grass and parked, still a little uncertain as to why I was here. I turned and got out only a wee bit slower than normally, my protruding belly no more than a minor hindrance at this point.

From the road, the old Washington place resembled the dozen or so other abandoned homes I saw on my drive out this morning. Apparently this faraway corner of the county had missed the economic boom of the nineties. A sagging roof was fighting gravity, windows were broken, and the rickety porch didn’t look like it could hold the weight of a healthy tick hound.

Click here to read Chris Kuell’s short story

I have Painted by Margarita Tenser

I have painted

round the legs of furniture

it was so heavy, and my hands so tired

(I forgot.)

Now there is wet paint between

me and the door

through which I should have hauled this chest of drawers…

Click here to read Margarita Tenser’s poem

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