Breath & Shadow
A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature
What He Had Lost
by Todd Hanks
Living in a group home for the mentally ill,
he often wondered what it was he was looking for.
The young man had blood stains on his leather jacket,
scarred wrists and scared eyes.
Downtown there was a place he often went, where
wooden steps in a brick structure led to a deck.
The deck was hidden by cedar trees, and the brick
was lined with flowers and covered in graffiti.
The man would sit and think, wondering
again and again what it was that he had lost.
He learned from experience that the acidic power
of loneliness could carve a face from a cliff side.
After more than two decades he finally learned
to try and be nice. A few more years passed and he finally
found something that made him good enough to get by.
He felt satisfied with the company of a few friends, and
tranquility such as is found between the leaves of plants,
as cool as a shallow slumber in a concrete room,
as quiet as a playground for phantom infants.
Todd Hanks has worked as a creative writer and journalist for several small newspapers. His poems have appeared in publications such as Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Tales of the Talisman, Night to Dawn, Beyond Centauri and the Kansas City Star. His book of gothic poetry, which is beautifully illustrated, can be purchased at several computer locations by typing his name in the search engine and the title of his book, “Grave Bits”.