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Breath & Shadow

Winter 2011 - Vol. 8, Issue 1

"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

explode. I'll

kick the mugger down, my hands

clawing for his throat, all my blind strength

pounding his head. Or else I shall

fall to my death. Please

understand that I don't want to

walk away only to

run smack into a world where every shoe my cane

kisses could be his, every

passing breath could be his, every

leering pair of eyes could be his, every night would

stalk me with his phantom, and such nights would

consume all my days.



“Excessive Force” appeared previously in Aunt Chloe.

John Lee Clark was born deaf and became blind in adolescence. His chapbook of poems is “Suddenly Slow” (Handtype Press, 2008) and he edited the anthology Deaf American Poetry (Gallaudet University Press, 2009). His work has appeared in many publications, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, McSweeney's, and Poetry. Clark lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife and three sons.

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