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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2010 - Vol. 7, Issue 2

"A Stab At Angels" and "For M"

written by

Nancy Scott

"A Stab At Angels"


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?



"For M" 


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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