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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2019 - Vol. 16, Issue 2

"Bin Bag Human"

Written By

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.


Written By

Judith Skillman

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?

"Coffee Veins"

Written By

Isabelle Kenyon

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.

"Dear God"

Written By

Shawna Borman

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"

Written By

Laura Campbell

Earth, 2099


“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.

"It Is"

Written By

Emily Harriett

it is heartache

romanticized without love,

idealized and warped from neglect—

wrought from thick banded iron

(and yesterday’s mistakes, sweet)

"My Wildest Dreams"

Written By

Laura Becker

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"

Written By

Ability Maine

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"

Written By

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.


Written By

Marcus Vance

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"

Written By

Changming Yuan

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"

Written By

A.K.F.N. Myers

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"

Written By

Glynis Scrivens

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.

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