Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Spring 2017

Volume 14 Issue 2



Breath and Shadow
Spring 2017
Volume 14 Issue 2

Just Released!

Dozen  by Chris Kuell

Aching at the Scent of Rain by Carolyn Agee

Petrichor: The scent of the earth after the first rainfall.

That same rainfall which makes it impossible to move from the couch,

because someone played god

with my body and lost--

against my will...

Click here to read Carolyn’s poem

Shell Shedding by Sara Codair

Shaelyn felt as awkward and vulnerable as a hermit crab without shell. She couldn’t stop her arms from crossing and her nails from scratching. If she hadn’t been wearing two shirts and a sweater, she probably would’ve been bleeding before she even found her date. Not that she was sure finding him was even possible.

The commuter dining hall was packed with students that ranged from the palest white to the darkest brown, a blurred gradient of humanity swirling together. Noise came at her from every direction. Girls were laughing like seagulls circling a laden fishing boat as it returned to port. Words collided and divided, merging into sounds that held no meaning and made it hard for Shaelyn to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.

Click here to read Sara’s short story

Stephen Hawking Has It Right by Daniel Mart

My name is Daniel and I am a student and I get horny.

Cue the mix of nervous laughter and hypothetical high-fives here.

Like, at times, really, really horny. Not all the time, no. Yet a pretty decent amount.

Never have I had a girlfriend, and I am, well, let us just say, "extremely sexually frustrated."

Click here to read Daniel’s essay

You’ve Become Unsafe Ground by Akua Lezli Hope

You’ve become unsafe ground:

I can arrive at the inn and have a great meal

but the walls start to shake

the ground begins to tremble

denying our shared past

recasting steps taken to the door

Click here to read Akua’s poem

Sad Exchange by Nina Fosati

When he gets like this, she equates it to having an epileptic fit. The stimulus crashes and burns across his synapses triggering an automatic, involuntary response. He can’t stop or control it. The angry words spill out of him in response to the sounds and light stabbing into him. He feels like a tiger has grabbed hold of his head, biting into his brain and shaking his whole body with savage intent. His reaction is the automatic fight for self-preservation.

Click here to read Nina’s creative nonfiction piece

Being or Living With by Julianna Siemssen

You say

my head weighs a whole ten pounds.

My shoulders must be tired from such a burden,

but you are going to free me

because you know

that if you angle the knife just right

when you slice it off

a balloon will blossom from my neck

and inflate

with harsh fluorescent lights for eyes

and a sharpie grin

and for hair, a single rope you can pull

when you play tug-of-war...

Click here to read Julianna’s poem

Nazdeha’s Price by Kayla Bashe

Barring mistakes, this is what Nazdeha consumes each day:

Seaweed. Green. Two cups. Chewed ninety times per bite.

Five mountain grapes. Red. Chewed thirty-four times each.

Seaberry juice. Orange as a salamander, bitter as bile. One whole damn glass.


The Hive play a game to test the moral acuity of their leaders. In their flat, monosyllabic language, it is called Consequences.

The rules are simple:

One player offers something they are willing to relinquish. The other counters with an offer of slightly higher value. This exchange continues until one player is forced to wager something- a province, perhaps, or a memory- they do not wish to lose.

Click here to read Kayla’s story

Draw Your Own Conclusions by Marilynn Talal

Draw the sea growing larger

and it grows larger.

We don’t have to imagine 

the sea growing larger.  It grows.

The sea swallows the sea...

Click here to read Marilynn’s poem

Naked and (Mostly) Unafraid: A Review by Erika Jahneke

As I write this review, it is hard to move forward. Not because my mobility impairment has gotten any worse, or because tech years are counted so differently from regular years--although it is hard to think about writing when you wake up every morning afraid your faithful PC might turn into a giant paperweight overnight. My hesitation does not reflect a lack of quality in the eclectic stories in the new short-story collection ‘The Right Way To Be Crippled and Naked: The Fiction of Disability”(points for the saucy title, taken from a pleasantly explicit story by Jonathan Mack), edited by Sheila Black, Michael Northen and Annabelle Hayse.

Click here to read Erika’s review

Alan Turing, Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, This One’s For You! by Sergio Ortiz

Genetic abnormalities,

he said in his white coat,

ordinary exceptions that prove

maddened chromosomes.

But the sum, the calculation

does not return,

it spits on all his pain...

Click here to read Sergio’s poems

A Temporary Perspective by Ann Chiapetta

Sloan held the small clay sculpture and traced its surface with her first two fingers. The flat, black paint and misshapen facial features looked and felt as if a toddler had made it.

She felt her son watching her and asked, “What is it?”

Josh shrugged as if to say, no big deal, but didn’t reply. Sloan tried again, wishing that engaging Josh wasn’t such a workout.

Click here to read Ann’s short story

I Am by Wendy Kennar

How are you?”

I don’t like that question, because I don’t know how to answer it.

Do you mean how am I right now, this moment, when you’re asking? Do you mean in general, taking into account that I have a roof over my head and food in my refrigerator? Or, do you mean compared to the last time we spoke?

How am I?

My answer depends on how I want to think about my situation.

Click here to read Wendy’s essay

Why Did You Leave Us, Linda? by Elizabeth Marchitti

We knew you weren’t meant to grow old.

You had so many problems caused

by your R.A.

You had surgeries on so many parts of your body,

still you made it to workshops and readings…

Click here to read Betty’s poem

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