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Breath & Shadow

Winter 2011 - Vol. 8, Issue 1

"Bull Rider"

Written By

Deborah Sheldon

The stadium reeked of hay, leather and manure. Ryan kept his arm around Sandra to protect her from the bump and shove of the crowd, a swirling flow of denim, checked shirts and the odd Stetson hat. Some of the hats were chewed and dusty but most looked fresh out of the box.


Ryan said, "Just look at these idiots, would you, Mum? It's like a fancy dress party."

"By A Leg"

Written By

D.I. Telbat

Jennifer Bertrand thought briefly about slowing down on the icy highway, but the roads had been sanded the night before and the trucker in front of her was driving just as fast. She wasn't behind schedule in reaching Uncle Trav's winter cabin, but she was speeding anyway.


The nineteen-year-old tapped the steering wheel in rhythm to the pop rock blasting from the two-door, cherry-red coupe. The highway snaked along a steep mountainside on her right. A half-frozen river churned through snowy trees at the bottom of the embankment on her left. Jen glanced down at the river and shivered at the prospect of such a tumble. Her parents would never forgive her, even if she died. She laughed aloud at the thought. Her parents loved her more than their new car, so she had been able to talk them into letting her drive it into the mountains alone.

"Excessive Force"

Written By

John Lee Clark

Feeling my way down the street, if I ever   

feel the cold

kiss of a gun or the cold

lick of a blade, I shall

break the law. I'll

inhale the sweet night air and then


"Heaven’s Hope"

Written By

Venetia Ghozlan

heaven is a fevered hope for the dispossessed

a mirage that blooms as we lay dying...

"Smell of Fireman" and "We have no Earlids"

Written By

Akua Lezli Hope

Smell of firemen lingers in my bedroom,

the metal guard rail i will wipe

with alcohol, still warm

from their hands

Don't be sorry, they said...

"Spare Me From Your Followers"

Written By

Daniel Latham

WWJD - What would Jesus do? The bumper stickers, bracelets, and t- shirts began popping up like locusts during a biblical plague a few years ago. They were so prevalent in my corner of the world that I started to feel like a Sneetch without a star on my belly.


I wasn’t sure what the question meant. Was it a plea for the reader to think before taking action? Was the person displaying the sign asking my opinion? I’ll tell you: Jesus would use his turn signals, Jesus would vote Green, Jesus would buy organic.


Written By

Christopher Jon Heuer

There are two police officers in our dining room. They’ve come to take my father away. He’s standing by the table in his underwear, hands cuffed behind his back. My mother is trying to hang her burgundy housecoat over his shoulders so he won’t be naked when they take him outside. The housecoat has feminine floral patterns and looks ridiculous on him. She looks ridiculous too, being all concerned for his appearance when she’s the one who called the police in the first place.


Dad is completely out of it—if he knew what was going on he would be shouting and bitching. Instead he’s in a stupor. I can’t hear what he’s mumbling.

"What He Had Lost"

Written 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.

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