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Breath & Shadow

Summer 2010 - Vol. 7, Issue 3

"Quilts, Flags, and Other Wrappings"

written 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 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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