Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Spring 2014

Volume 11 Issue 2



Breath and Shadow
  Spring 2014
Volume 11, Number 2

Dog Years
By Abigail Astor

Is my life to be
like that of a dog
where every one year
equals seven?

The commercial shows
a fast forward montage
starting with puppyhood
and ending with that last arthritic step

I measure my life as a series of lasts

The last time I walked to Rite Aid
without a rollator

The last time I tied the laces of my orthotics
before switching to Velcro

The last time I will be maneuvered up the porch stairs
by the strongest relative at Christmas

The last time I will go to the Promenade
not in a motorized wheelchair

The last time I will have 
a normal echocardiogram

The last time I will get
out of bed by myself

The last time you will hold me

For Sylvia Plath
By Abigail Astor

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

    from “Lady Lazarus”

Oh, Lady Lazarus
What have you done?

A perfect poem
every morning before dawn
is too much
even for a genius.

One needs to know
exactly where to stop

I have more lives
than the cat
Suicide and sickness
I recover again and again

Now middle-aged,
I quietly exist

Lining up my medications
once a week.
Carefully placing each pill
in its compartment

If only you had lasted
until lithium

You could be 81 now
less prolific perhaps
but producing
the most brilliant poems of joy

Survival also
requires expertise

Abigail Astor is a poet, editor and proofreader.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in English from Queens College.  Her work has previously appeared in Breath and Shadow. Abigail struggles with Muscular Dystrophy, Bipolar Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner, Jane, and their miniature poodle, Lulu. She can be reached at abigail.astor@gmail.com.

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