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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2013 - Vol. 10, Issue 2

"Travels of Lip Balm"

written by

Shawn Jacobson

The drier door opens and I fall out

after traveling the drum.

Unopened, my essence stays with me

instead of covering clothes with which I journey.

He picks me up, his daughter will want this.

He returns to folding clothes.


Screams from above Bug! his daughter cries.

Big bug! she wails in abject terror.

Maybe it is Mothra, maybe perhaps will eat Tokyo.

He bolts from the laundry pounding up the stairs

all else is forgotten.

It is a spider.


A cube farm mourning,

he checks the newspaper.

How badly did the Twins lose? he wonders

as Email breeds in his inbox.

He feels his back pocket; here I am.

Why had he forgotten me? a giant spider from Mars?


In the restaurant's hectic chaos he orders

the usual a burger and some fries,

a drink to wash it down,

some sugar cookies for dessert would be nice.

He pays the bill, and in vain rummaging for pennies

he finds me.


Deacons meet in the conference room,

the agenda drones on, the stove, the van,

who will count, who will usher.

The kitchen cleanup is brought up for discussion.

He pulls a restaurant receipt from his back pocket

finding me again.


The weary day is done he comes back home.

The phone rang in his absence.

Forgotten life returns to his agenda,

He must handle this now.

He does the trash and makes tomorrow's coffee.

He finds his rest,

forgetting me.


The drier door opens and I fall out

after traveling the drum.

Unopened, my luck is holding

his clothes remain uncovered by my essence.

He picks me up his daughter will still want this.

Sheepishly, he returns to folding clothes.


We seldom notice

small traveling companions

who journey with us.

Shawn Jacobson was born totally blind and gained partial vision during childhood. He grew up attending the Iowa school for the blind. He received his BA in Political Science and his MS in Statistics from Iowa State University.


Currently, Shawn lives with his wife, son and daughter in Olney, MD. He works at HUD and serves as treasurer of the Maryland affiliate of the national Federation of the blind. Shawn’s work has been published in Slate and Style, Magnets and Ladders, and The Braille Spectator.

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