Breath & Shadow
Volume 11, Issue 1
"Support the Fight: A Review of Something on our Minds"
When “We Write for the Fight,” an online self-help group connecting people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), put out a call for writers to contribute to an anthology project whose proceeds would benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, many responded. The project produced Something on our Minds, which is edited by Tracy A. Todd and Sean J. Mahoney. The anthology is divided into three sections: poetry, personal reflection, and short stories. Each piece presents a unique response to life with MS and a wide range of emotions from anger to fear to gratitude to joy. The complexity of emotions coupled with the many different ways MS can affect peoples’ lives gives readers a glimpse of day-to-day life as the writers’ bodies and spirits evolve with this disease.
I don't know precisely what year it was. My memory does not recall chronology. I would never have written anything resembling memoir had I needed a timeline.
It was probably around 1990. I had a second chance to hear Hayden Carruth in person. He was the first poet with books (plural) published that I'd ever heard read poetry. Something about that New England-accented voice began a turn in me. I wanted to do what he did. I wanted people to sit through my holding them hostage with words. I wanted the magic to rub off on me.
"One Wallet Too Many"
The indoor public pool was busy on Saturday. The wall of glass by the check-in counter was steamed like a terrarium. Little boys did cannonballs from the sides, and a group of girls knocked a red ball back and forth. Old men exercised, walking laps in the waves.
Mouse Thompson signed in under a false name, carrying a bundle wrapped in a towel, and walked into the men’s changing room. He knew there would be no locks on the lockers; he’d been in there before. Mouse began to search methodically through the metal boxes one by one, listening for the sound of a door opening. By the time he had gone through every locker, he had stashed three wallets in his jacket pocket.
The sun blazed in a bright blue cloudless sky. Birds sang, the air carried the smell of hay drying in back fields coupled with manure from the barn. Cows, impatient to get back in the pasture, mooed in the barnyard, and in the distance, Pepere circled a meadow on one of his old tractors. Sounds from its ancient skipping engine echoed off distant trees crowding in on the open edges. It was a great day to be five.
“For the third time, we had the keys. Emaleen, gave, us, the, keys."
I rubbed my forehead. It felt fit to split. How long could these guys keep this up?
The big horse-faced Detective, Hegil Mesh, pointed to the shriveled gourd thing on the table. His head was so sunburned it look like a shiny apple.
"Smells like rat shit and cloves."