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Breath & Shadow

Winter 2017 - Vol. 14, Issue 3

"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.


A pill a day keeps the inflammation away —

but these bones are special,

these bones are hungry.

They want hundreds of pills

a day to stop aching,

heating pads, foot insoles,

massages, epsom salt baths.


These bones keep finding

more ways to show pain.

They want bone disorder

to be my middle name.

but these bones are shouting

to be seen past their x-rays,

they’re keeping me up at night,

whispering, “notice me.”

Marlena Chertock is the Poetry Editor for District Lit and a graduate of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. Her poems and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction, The Fem, The Little Patuxent Review, Moonsick Magazine, and Paper Darts. Her first collection of poetry, On that one-way trip to Mars <>, is available from Bottlecap Press. Find her at or on Twitter at @mchertock.

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