Breath & Shadow
Volume 16, Issue 2
"Bin Bag Human"
M. Loraine Nunnally
I’m a stranger in this city.
Up and down the sidewalks,
All the smiling postcard faces
Gather in cafe windows,
Shining their fireplace hearts.
But I’m a paper doll.
And have you struggled against the pain
as if stretched on a Procrustean bed,
and did the morning find you here again?
Was there nothing, neither sun nor rain,
to restore the lithe, gymnastic spine
and have you struggled against the pain?
I don’t wake airbrushed or angelic,
no Special K routine or pearly whites -
just a quiet grumble and a dinosaur- squeak stretch
from my fingertips to my toes: taut.
I want to believe
That love is blind
And the world is kind
And that we all have time
To fall in love.
But that’s a lie.
I want to be loved
For who I am
Despite what I am
By someone who doesn’t give a damn
About the outside.
"In the Sunrise of the Purple City"
“I heard some new 5Wing jokes today,” Frederic said, sitting on the rocks.
He and Ophelia had a task to perform. She held a small box in her lap as they sat and watched a sleek rocket launch from a local space-port. A hole in the dome that covered the city opened, and the rocket lifted itself away from the city.
"My Wildest Dreams"
I walk down the sidewalk of my favorite street in the neighborhood. I’m staring down, studying the cracks between each slab of concrete. But then, I always look down.
Five years, I tell myself. I’ve been depressed for five years. Do you know how long that is?
"New on the Bookshelf"
Sorry, but we don’t have any new books to plug in this issue. If you are a past contributor and would like to tell us about a recent book publication—drop us a line.
"Smart and Stupid"
Radhika Rao Gupta
My problem is that I seem smart, when actually the opposite is true. This mistaken impression of me that forms in people’s minds is burdensome; unfortunately, being articulate is not tantamount to being smart. “No, really, I’m stupider than I seem,” I want to insist to people I meet for the first time who assume, kindly but mistakenly, that because I am friendly, confident, and articulate, it therefore follows that I am also bright and quick on the uptake. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
You lie on the floor, looking up. Your slim and expensive computer teeters precariously above--mocking you. Ready to fall and land a sharp edge on your face. You will your body to move, but it’s stubborn. You’re stuck.
The plug set inside your skull is still warm. Painfully so.
Is that smoke whispering past?
"Snowing in Spring"
In the wild open west, flakes keep falling
Like myriad baby angels knocked down from Paradise
Blurring the landscape behind the vision
Hunting each consonant trying to rise above
The ground. The day is brighter, lighter &
Softer than the feel...
"The Hidden Circus"
Jo left for Cali on the 12th. I could regale you on how she was the best I ever had, how she was the perfect mix of friend and professional, how I used to look forward to hearing “Good morning, girl,” each morning and how we talked about personal things on mutual sides. But I’m not going to. Because she’s gone, she’s happy, talks to me every day, and no matter how badly this hurts, I am actually happy for her. Because I know, if someone offered me a way out of this podunk town, I’d take it, even for a little while.
"Through A Glass Darkly"
Jane wasn’t religious, but even she kept feeling this was a miracle. Only yesterday her world was dark and unfocussed. Now, lying in the recovery area of the eye hospital, she had glimpses of a crystal clear, lighter world. One she’d lost sight of several years ago, so gradually that she hadn’t been aware how significant the changes had become.
How blue the sky now looked--Not the dark grey-blue of yesterday, but a lighter, more cheerful shade. A summer blue, full of promise and hope.
Her left eye was covered by a clear plastic protective shield, attached to her face by white taping. It was in the spaces between this taping that she could see a new world.