Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Spring 2015

Volume 12 Issue 2



Breath and Shadow
Spring 2015

Volume 12, Number 2

Love Poem to Autism, Love Poem to Words by Aleph Altman-Mills

They say I fixate,

the way I line up

my magazines.

My fingers swoop down the bindings,

Beecher's is so soft it tickles,

and I crumble

into giggles…

Click here to read Aleph’s poem

Sheep May Safely Graze by Lyn McConchie

The woman who lay in the bed was old. So old that the veins showed blue through the paper-thin skin and the flesh had melted into a delicate skeleton under that same covering. Beside her the nurse sat quietly. It was a waste of money hiring her to watch the old lady, but then the family had it to waste. Her patient was a pleasant change. She might be uneducated, with the faint accent of her childhood, but she was always polite. Grateful for the caring, uttering her thanks in a weakening voice.

Click here to read Lyn’s short story

Tissue Paper by R.J. Cook

It is a horrible thing to give voice to what I wish for most.

Dreams are carefully folded tissue paper,

squirrelled and saved.

Many sheets fit, closeted away,

but the weight flattens the oldest, most delicate, to cobwebs…

Click here to read R.J.’s poem

What Not To Say To A Blind Person by Beckie Horter

I experienced it again this week. Meeting a new person in a new location, they asked me if I enjoyed the video we'd just seen. I said I couldn't really see the video too well because I am legally blind. However, I liked the music. I tried to keep it light, because I could feel the questions coming.

A moment of silence followed as she sized me up. I appeared normal to her. Why was I saying this?

"How can you see me right now?" she asked.

Click here to read Beckie’s essay

Sound of Sunlight By Anna Stott

Though the silence never ends
I can hear.
I can hear:
A dove in flight
The sound of sunlight
Trees dancing without wind
Stars twinkling in the night
The flowers sweet songs
The moons soft sprite
My loves delight…

Click here to read Anna’s poem

Death by Hospice by Susan M. Silver

“Goldie won’t cry,” the principal had declared with the certainty of an experienced seer more than eight decades earlier, and that marked nobility of strength would define her always.

It was on a heat-choked summer’s day—the kind of late-June day when the hushed humidity causes the greenery to seem wavering in irrationally insistent sunshine—when the compact ambulette delivered Mom to the hospice. And even in the Sisters of Divine Mercy Home, a little Temple of Transition for the terminally ill that faced the East River, reeking of bleach and sanitizers, mixed with the fragrance of jovially funereal floral bouquets, she remained regally calm and centered.

Click here to read Susan’s short story

The Best Years of Our Lives: Shattering Glass, Shattering Disability Taboos by Denise Noe

The Best Years of Our Lives’ is a 1946 black and white motion picture rightly regarded as a classic. William Wyler directed this film from a screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood based on a novel by MacKinlay Kantor. The movie won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

One actor, Harold Russell, won two Academy Awards for his performance in this film: an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and a special honorary award “for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.” By casting Russell, who had lost his hands and forearms in a military training accident, the film shattered a major cinematic taboo: he was the first physically disabled person ever cast in a major role.

Click here to read Denise’s review

Dark Arrow Down, Dome by Julie Kim Shavin

The poet sleeps as he must,
  as he cannot sleep -
I am a lone boat in darkness, he conjures,
  inhale: the wind
exhale: whistle of sails
sometimes rocks himself
  as though orphan, foundling
or just mishap of love
  needy mouth of night, prone,
one foot atop the other
  rock, rock on water…

Click here to read Julie’s Poems

(as an added bonus, there are links to video performances of these poems following the text)

Truth is a Stranger to Fiction by Sandra M. Odell

"More! More!" the Menagerie chants.

From his seat at the head of the table, Master Robinson nods for another tale. The chimera comes up on its hind legs. I sidle behind its musty bulk to refill its mug with wine. The pitcher taps against the rim of the goblet, and a birdsong of silver and bone sounds high and sweet.

Click here to read Sandra’s short story

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