Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Spring 2010
Volume 7, Number 2



Quilts, Flags, and other Wrappings
by Sergio Ortiz

I started the quilt
when the only reminder
of civility I had was a stuffed doll
whose stitches came undone
under the weight of my books.

I sewed while bathing
under the moon’s eclipse,
watched him throw my porcelain spoons,
gifts, against the wall
as I added a more pieces.

I stopped stitching

when he drove a bulldozer
in sight of all those present

at Jose's welfare funeral.

I stared at the unfinished patches
as they threw me in a paddy wagon,

took me to jail for protesting
an unwinnable war.

I got close when he lay in bed
covered with Kaposi’s sarcoma.

I studied him when a signature
to keep the man from becoming homeless

made him quiver, shake, and think


about the funeral’s expense if he died

while the blotch of endearment on the piece

of white insignificance was still there.

Then. I quilted the names.

Ortiz has a B.A. in English literature from Inter-American University, and a M.A. in philosophy from World University.  His poems have been published, or are forthcoming in: The Acento Review, Poesia, The Driftwood Review, Words-Myth, The Taj Mahal Review, and other journals and anthologies.  His chapbook, At the Tail End of Dusk (2009), was published by Flutter Press.

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