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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2012 - Vol. 9, Issue 2

"A Farewell to Disneyland" and "This Is the Real World"

Written By

Mel C. Thompson

When you’re from Orange County

poverty is the one unforgivable sin.


Friends and family drift away

when an illness becomes chronic...

"A Great Place for a Seizure: The Hospital"

Written By

Terry Tracy

  “Mischa, it’s Dad. Mom is here too. Don’t try to get up. The doctors want you to stay here for a while. You…you…you had two seizures today.”




Her head felt like it had exploded. It had never hurt like this before. She wondered whether it had grown larger just to accommodate that amount of pain. When she looked around questions ran through her head. How did I get into this hospital gown? Where are my clothes? Where are my shoes? Why is there blood on the hospital gown? Where am I bleeding from? She tried to lift herself up.

"Decision At World’s End"

Written By

L.A. Christensen

I jam the interplanetary comm link, belatedly realizing the equipment's upgrade means no button and my finger slips along the touch screen.     


“Hello, Mr. Vanhaeker. Please hold while we connect you.”

The ground rumbles beneath me and I grasp the paneling on either side to stay upright, gritting my teeth against my own pitted anger.

"Dress For Success"

Written By

Nancy Scott

 “You don't dress like a poet,” Barbara advised.     


“Poets dress like they can't think about mundane things like fashion. Or maybe poets want to draw attention to themselves. Or they want audiences to think they have odd artistic flair. You just dress like a normal person.”


I heard the truth of Barbara's observation. I didn't say that since matching colors was not a high-level skill in my repertoire and I had no fashion sense, I opted for cautious. That, even to me, didn't sound poet-like. Poets should sound fearless, or at least creative. Maybe they should look that way too?

"On Something Stable"

Written By

Jude Conlee

I told myself I was happy,

as I walked across the bridge,

making very sure

to keep my hand

on the rail.

"Sharp", "Shallow Six", and "Age 10: Sorting the Dead"

Written By

Brock Marie Moore

the fishing lures have lured

his daughter again.

she floats down the aisles, trailing

small hands in the bins of rubber worms,

her head a damp wisp of dandelion

caught in an unfelt breeze...

"The Cripfic Manifesto"

Written By

Maija Haavisto

When chronic illnesses and disabilities are featured in fiction, it usually follows a certain formula. A main character or his/her family member has cancer or depression, perhaps another type of mental illness, and generally dies of it or recovers. From the perspective of drama, being "chronic" is stagnant and problematic. Other disabilities are usually relegated to side characters, just like disabled people are expected to assume less visible roles in the society. In some novels crips may be bitter villains, but more often they are just there to be damn inspiring.

"The Dove"

Written By

Todd Hanks

The salt spray of her kiss stung his ocean and

wind-burned lips softly, like first hunger pains of a fast.

How long did that summer day's kiss last?

The seconds and centuries of the ocean were wrapped

like wet wind around him. That day white sails scissored

waves like skirting glances...

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