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Breath & Shadow

Winter 2017 - Vol. 14, Issue 3

"My Catahoula Is Gone" and "Friday Night Dance at a Private Sanitarium"

Written By

Douglas May

the day after she died

i searched for the spot

where the winter rye

still lay flattened

by the weight of her body…

"The Dilemmas of Body Integrity Identity Disorder"

Written By

Denise Noe

To many who live with disabilities, a cure is a cherished dream. To almost anyone, the idea that someone would want a disability seems perverse. People automatically react with the colloquially dismissive term “crazy” to the concept of an able-bodied individual seeking a physical handicap. Yet such people exist and their condition has a name: Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID).

"Roller Derby Debates"

Written By

Rick Blum  

The parking lot is sparsely inhabited, though the handicapped spaces are already half full. We meet here most Saturday mornings before the onslaught of eager shoppers starts to clog the hallways of this sprawling, climate-controlled, mini-metropolis. In titanium-lightened wheelchairs and battery-powered transporters, we embark on a scripted journey, trying to enjoy dwindling scraps of independence before chronic diseases rob us of even this limited exercise of freedom.

"Stuff My Non-Verbal Brother Says" and "Childless, Hormonal College Girls at a Baby Shower"

Written By

Alyssa Radtke

I lost the ability to convincingly imitate my brother's various vocalizations since his voice dropped. He has a deep man voice; I'm an alto and sound like five-year-old him, at best.


Smiling "Rawrs" while looking in your direction, rising in intonation as you near
I like the noise you're making, clanking down the hall. Tornado siren shouts at 11:05 on a Sunday Hurry up, Pastor, you're running long…

"Short Curve II"

Written By

Marlena Chertock

Hidden in this body

are a 50-year-old’s bones.

The joints sound like tree branches

in an ice storm...

"Life Cycle"

Written By

Emery Ross

She thinks she is in Love, so she does what any intelligent person might do and sits down with Love to explain why it’s not welcome in her life.

Love ignores her reasoning, so she turns to science.


Google Searches:


“How to stop being in love”


“How to stop thinking about someone”


“Love poems”


“Love and science”


“Psychology and love”





"Old-Fashioned Sex"

Written By

Kelley A. Pasmanick  

It was my sister’s wedding day, and you were who I was thinking about, imagining what could have been, the worst kind of daydream. Standing there beside her in the first piece of formal wear I’d ever owned—a black strapless gown because she was going for the classic, black-tie look—I stared at her, assessing the look in her eyes. It was a look I’d never seen before, one that said my future is here. Here wasn’t a place I’d ever be. Not with you. I wouldn’t have a future with you. I wouldn’t have anything with you. There was no us.


I was trying to ignore the fact that it was another day focused on her. It was just another day, and yet it was the day. It was her prerogative to say to Mom oh so audibly, “I don’t want her crutches showing in the pictures!”

"Off The Cuff"

Written By

Denise Noe

The remark







"Lost and Found"

Written By

Edward M. Turner 

"I can't do it."


The face on the computer screen looked worried.


"Now don't shut me off, Edward, whatever you do. Let's talk about this."


The old man ran his fingers through his hair, making the gray ends stand up like ruffled feathers. A crescent moon shone in through a window.


"Damn it all to hell in a hand-basket. I've lost it and it's not coming back. What's the use?"


"I wouldn't say that. Just relate what you think. I'll record it like always. Try and see."


"I HAVE!" he shouted.


Written By

Rachael Z. Ikins 

"I'm sorry for your loss." I said. "The way you talk about him, I had no idea he was gone."


My friend, Cindy, straightened a doll's dress on a display shelf in her shop in the basement of the house she and her husband had built.


I hate it myself when someone asks the inevitable question, "Do you have children?" and if not, " How sad I am for you."


I'm sorry I do not. Now here is a woman who had a boy for 25 years, only to lose him.

"Lover’s Embrace"

Written By

Frida Mehtala 

I wanted your words to be true. Wouldn't see beneath the surface for fear of what I would find. But nothing hurts more deeply than a false truth...


Written By

Frances Koziar  

It would be easier if people were only one colour

Sapphire, say, or emerald

If they let you name them, fix them

into place, rather than hiding

in a spectrum of deceit...

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