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Breath & Shadow

Summer 2014 - Vol. 11, Issue 3


Written By

Debbie Johnson

BEEP-BEEP, BEEP-BEEP. The alarm clock rings and I pull the covers over my head. BEEPBEEP. After another minute, I tire of the alarm's incessant call. I crawl out of bed remembering today’s itinerary and wish I could just stay home. Taking a deep breath, I strive to remain calm and relaxed. Yet the anxiety begins.


As the time nears for the bus to pick me up, my heart races along with my thoughts. A dull headache has worsened throughout the morning just knowing I have to see HER.

"The Computer Rainforest" and "Wildflower Engine Block"

Written By

Todd Hanks

In the paradise of a computer jungle,

bananas and televisions hang near

a python draping a metal limb.

In a red rust river piranhas fax

themselves closer to the wading

legs of cyber water buffalo...

"The Dollhouse"

Written By

Jennifer Gifford

I’m an artist. I confine myself to one simple medium, but my art is one of a kind. Working in fear and pain, much the way Picasso worked in oils, I utilize whatever tools I have around me to complete my dark masterpieces. I specialize in the macabre, emulating the dark essence of it, capturing it in all its dark twisted beauty. Death, sweet death, is my greatest creation.


My pieces are never seen by others, and while one day I hope that my creations bring me notoriety, I make them for the soul purpose of my own enjoyment. They are my creations, though they didn’t start out that way. At first they belonged to God, but I stole them from Him, and I made them mine own.


Written By

Glenda Barrett

As I rode out of the store

in my red handicapped scooter

I noticed a shiny, red motorcycle

parked alongside the sidewalk.

I couldn't help but compare the two...

"The Scofflaw"

Written By

Timothy W. Allen

“There sure is a lot of scar tissue in there,” the ophthalmologist said, peering through my pupils while shining the brightest light imaginable into my eyes. But he was a man of few words, and he said little else, beyond occasionally asking:


“And which is better?” while rotating various diopters as I stared blankly at the barely visible Snellen Chart, projected on the wall from an unknown source. And then, about fifteen minutes into this:


“Well, you’re not legally blind,” he deadpanned. I didn’t respond. This struck me as an odd remark; I had never really thought about the issue.

"4 AM" and "Even More"

Written By

B. Z. Niditch

French bread

resembling a

quarter moon


on the granite table

an hour ago

by the tentative night...

"Here and There"

Written By

Wendy Kennar

There the world, and the people in it, were damaged. Surgeries. Broken bones. Sprained muscles. Strokes. Diseases. But no one was written off. Everyone was there to try. Try to regain some mobility, some strength, some independence.


Here the world continued on as it always had. Work. Family. Dinners. Dishes. Laundry. Bills. Hugs. Kisses. Time-outs. I was the hamster on the spinning wheel, and I feared my legs wouldn't keep going. I was afraid of falling off, falling down, and being unable to get up.

"A Spider"

Written By

William L. Houts

Sprawled in my favorite chair,

I found a spider striving down

my sweater's cotton roads;

uncruel, I meant to brush her

from my collar to the floor,

but a brainless finger crushed her...

"The Happiest Place On Earth"

Written By

Erika Jahneke

I’m here because my roommate says I’m not open to new things – which, of course, she made sound like the chance for untold adventures, but has really led us to waiting in a truck stop on the way to Disney with a bunch of other disabled tourists. The only new sensation I’m filled with is a sticky banquette against my crippled butt. It seemed like a good idea at the time, sliding over, to try and be daring, and most of all, diffuse some of the fear, pity, and tiny sips of revulsion I see in the eyes of the other patrons.


I wonder if our four blind tour guests can tell we are being stared at. I almost envy them, until I think about The Voice, that sticky, gooey, too-loud baby-tone that the broken and slightly fucked-up quickly learn to loathe. Too nice, too slow, and too loud, as if we’re deaf, and yet, cheerful, as if we’re freakishly giant babies lured here by their new children’s menu.

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