Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Spring 2010
Volume 7, Number 2





By Nancy Scott

For Mark Mullowney, 1956-2003

I play your CDs, wandering
among your wanting
drugs and love and God
and knees that worked
and effortless thinness
and choreless money
and no more heart caths.

No one else answers
my need to ask the mundane--
colors on QVC,
stockmarket rates on a screen.
No one else drives to Burger King

for my whims or knows

what a younger brother knew.

Will I someday be where you are,
looking down and helping
the living I care about?

I hear you waving at me
in sneaky wind chime riffs
pinging one or two notes so softly
I must be still
to know you move after the air
in the orphaned space.
And you find my lost things,
putting my hands on them.

Have you forgiven the Universe
for making you
the able-bodied sibling?

Do you have hands and knees?
Does any part of you ache or clog now?
What do you wait for?

Will I see in heaven
or will I still be the listener
rarely injecting her own life
except to mostly strangers on paper?
Do you have paper?

I can't imagine being helpful in heaven.
Is that why I’m not there?






By Nancy Scott



Forget distracting Wellfleet winds and waves.
Ignore New York pigeons who nest
on your balcony where
you can no longer go.

Brag about your age to an audience.
Be furious on the page.
Blame someone with brush or metaphor
for being unwanted.

You can find the right art
for the God who granted polio.
You can find the right future
to fool pain and ask why.

Perhaps a collage or a thrown pot.
Write another poem about your burning wheelchair.
Help another poet prune or plant language.
Always get closer to your truth.

Like it or not, your life is
one more challenge,
one more day,
one more thing cherished and made whole.


Nancy Scott, Easton PA, is an essayist and poet who is blind.  Her over 470 bylines have appeared in magazines, literary journals, anthologies, newspapers, and as local radio commentaries.  Recent work has appeared in Kaleidoscope, The Lutheran Journal, The Sun, and Behind Our Eyes anthology. She received first prize in the 2009 International Onkyo Braille Contest. Her second chapbook, Leveling the Spin, is now available.

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