top of page

Breath & Shadow

Winter 2017 - Vol. 14, Issue 3

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

written by

Douglas May

"My Catahoula Is Gone"

the day after she died

i searched for the spot

where the winter rye

still lay flattened

by the weight of her body

thinking in the night

the blades had unclenched

quietly as tired hands

relaxing their grips.

but the shallow depression

in a sea of grass

continued on

as far as the eye

could see

and every cross-stitch

remained bent

as if from the weight

of a great machine.

"Friday Night Dance at a Private Sanitarium"

out of step with the music,

we moved to the

submerged beats of


your hair shaved close

as a jarhead's and

bandaged feet

plodding in snuggies,

a shadow trying to unpeel

from the tinder swamps

of southern cemeteries

where terrible secrets lay.

it wasn't easy being mad and

virtuous as your name, berean,

slow dancing with the slow kid

at the punchbowl assembly

who stood a head taller

than the other 6th graders.

but moment by graceless moment

we celebrated friday

with Fats Domino and

The Four Tops

afraid to hold too close

because something

might go wrong

signaling it was time

to dance into

the red silk tunnel

of lips sewn shut

and music

too beautiful

to share.

Doug May has a mild mental handicap (78 to 86 scores on the Stanford Binet, WISC and California Mental Maturity IQ tests).  he got a lot of tutoring and special attention in the early grades and earned a GED and later took college and vocational classes.  he has worked at different jobs, everything from data entry to proofreader, food server, landscaper, janitor and home health aide. Besides poetry, he plays the piano and likes to draw and cartoon.

bottom of page