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Breath & Shadow

Summer 2020 - Vol. 17, Issue 2

"Under the Southern Cross"

written by

Daniel C. Smith

Los Cruz illuminates the sins of el touristo even on this, the darkest Lima’s lonely streets, where travelers can pretend to be lost seeking a sanctuary of indifference to exorcise their contradictory indiscretions.

By day the street threatens to sink beneath the weight of the desperate and underfed, by night it’s only slightly less crowded with the empty souls of those who simply have nowhere else to go, Lima’s unforgiven denizens of the shadows, refugees from the Light.

An annulet circles, electric and golden suspending time as it hangs in the night, reaching for it, thinking to touch it in a search for purity, and almost too late I realize this neon nimbus belongs to someone, and though he is only a child, he is offering a purity of a different kind.

A silent agreement to ignore why I am here is tacitly implied, a flash of Yankee dollars and a few words of Spanish and we go our separate ways, neither of us can change the world, and he just wants to get through it as quick and clean as possible.

Daniel C. Smith is a graduate of Washburn University with degrees in English and political science, has published dozens of stories, articles, and reviews in the genres of science fiction and horror. He has published more contemporary poetry in venues such as InScape, Almagre Review, and frak/ture, while his speculative poetry has received an honorable mention the Year’s Best of Fantasy and Horror and has also been included in several anthologies, including Changes, Wondrous Web Worlds, and Dwarf Stars. His two collections of short fiction, “Nano-Bytes” and “3 of a Perfekt Pear” are available from Keep up with him on FB at!

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