Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Winter 2016

Volume 13 Issue 1



Breath and Shadow
Winter 2016

Volume 13, Number 1

Lessons from the Gimp Ghetto by Heidi Johnson-Wright

Being a gimp doesn’t mean you ain’t a gimp hater.

By the time I graduated from high school, I’d already been disabled for a decade. My assailant was rheumatoid arthritis. The disease caused my immune system to launch an absurd attack on my body, and destroyed my joints with lightning speed. At 18, I still walked as much as I could, but I sometimes had to use a wheelchair. I hated the damn thing, and hid it in the corner of my room.

Click here to read Heidi’s essay

After the ER Waiting Out a Storm in a Trailer by Kitty Eppard

she knows everything raging out there

everything twisting inside the sudden knocking

shifts in the siding clicks like desperate rodents

she knows what she can let in and what must be kept away…

Click here to read Kitty’s poem

Seeking the Seal by Katy Wimhurst

A cumulus cloud drifts across a clear spring sky. To Alana, resting on her sofa, staring out of the window, it seems to be the shape of a seal with a God-like beard. A seal god, she thinks. What'd that be like? Would it ponder the divinity of diving, the worship of waters, the beatitudes of blubber?

Click here to read Katy’s short story

The Special Ed Teacher Collects Dead Mice by Aleph Altman-Mills

She is made of toilet pipe rust.

She is shaped like a snake.

The first thing she did when she crawled out of the bowl is strangle a man and call it a hug.

She buried him in a prestigious cemetery and said she had made it possible for him to fulfill his dreams…

Click here to read Aleph’s poem

Seven Lessons I’m Learning from the Ocean by Wendy Kennar

The ocean has always enchanted me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m a Pisces. Maybe it’s simply that, near the ocean, I experience levels of awe, peace, contentment, and hope that I don’t experience on a regular basis during my day-to-day life.

My daily reality involves living in busy, crowded Los Angeles, bombarded by the sounds of helicopters, ambulances, and car alarms.

Click here to read Wendy’s essay

Time Well Spent by Emily Dorffer

Alan pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and dabbed at the blood at the corner of Amanda’s mouth. She whispered an apology before lapsing into another coughing fit. Only the black clock in the otherwise completely white hospital room watched them. Seconds marched past, each tick ringing in Alan’s ears like a funeral toll.

Click here to read Emily’s short story

Set, Uncover, Dead Fly by Crimson Blackstone

The shroud fatigued

Busy gatherings draining mass beneath

Hiding immobility, burdening its whispers in the untold

Furrowing as wings folding around failing bonfires

Curling against the troubler in knowing ignorance

Lift the curious protrusions and hold in place its pasty platforms…

Click here to read Crimson’s poems

The River Voice by Madeleine parish

Executive Summary. Marketing Strategy. Financial Analysis. Management and Advisory Personnel.”

As she made her way from her West Campus dorm to her Advanced Marketing Seminar on the Quad, Tran Huong Giang ticked off the sections of the business plan she had written for her final class project.

The app she had designed—called, “To You!”—would allow connection-starved millennials to send a drink to someone they’d spotted across a bar, someone they’d like to know, if they were too shy—or too cool—to introduce themselves the old-fashioned way.

Click here to read Madeleine’s short story

Green Tongues, Ah, 50! by Louie Crew Clay

Welcome to half a century

I hit that mark 28 years ago.

Now I notice it mainly by a new spot

on my hand, a new mole around my eyelid,

a new sharpness in the lower right arm...

Click here to read Louie’s poems

Romans Angry About the Inner World-And I Have Felt it by Lynda McKinney Lambert

The Two Worlds” is a central theme in many poems written by American poet, author, and translator - Robert Bly.

I have been fascinated by Bly’s poetry since I was first introduced to it many years ago. There is always the image of a “world” or “The Two Worlds” in his work. And, along with the image of The Two Worlds is the implication that somehow there is a battle or tension between two worlds; or a conquest of one world over another. He speaks often of an “internal/inner” world and an “external/outer” world.

Click here to read Lynda’s essay

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