Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Spring 2015

Volume 12 Issue 2



Dark Arrow Down

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
dark arrow of heart moored
  to dark marrow of oar
simpers, prays
  to a god of man-like ears

now wind now sails
  in the blue-blood lair -
blue before the incredible
catastrophe of air.


By Julie Kim Shavin

Every day,

five or six times a day.

I go hunting.

Any woman half my age

is no stranger to blood.

Seven, eight, nine times a day

and through the night, too.

What I'm hunting is you,

whom I've never seen or felt

but whose heart,

for all I know,

beats, beats now.

I, a reflex, lost another.

"Tissue," said the doctor,

adjusting his watch.

"Platitude," said my brother,

matching up socks.

"Is it such a big deal,"

said my mother,

rattling her pots.

Oh my brother, my mother,

did you not know that

that warm ooze for

five nights and days

was part of you as well,

the swell that settled hourly,

the carrion knell,

the consummate cleansing

that only death can do?

I'm on the warpath now

stalking every moment,

certain I see red.

Just one spot

and again my heart

will enlarge, stretch,

curve like a dome,

to bury, to carry you,

eternally, home.

For folks whose browsers do not support the streaming html above, you can download an mp3 of Julie reciting the above poem here.

Raised in Georgia, Julianza (Julie) Shavin, is a composer, writer, and visual artist who adopted the Rocky Mountains as home in 1993, on doctor's orders. Recipient of three Pikes Peak Arts Council grants, she was named 2011 PPAC Performance Poet of the Year; in 2012, Page Poet.

She is reworking her fourth book of poetry. She collaborates with New York-based spoken word artist Hank Beukema, and is an animal-welfare advocate, working with many rescues online. She was a journalist before disability ended her career in 1987.

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