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Breath & Shadow

Summer 2020 - Vol. 17, Issue 2

"Working At Life"

written by

Joanne Alfano

Denial, overeating, and poor sleep

helped me tolerate the craziness.

I survived; the craziness thrived.

I work with a gunslinger’s stride

meet meaningless milestones

and bury all logic to the contrary.

I am not hardwired for love

[nor for anything else that is

growth or nurturing]

I must work at it, create an

artificial intelligence by

repeating the same solutions.

The day is over. I don’t want to

pray or contemplate spiritual things

I want to bed-hide and disappear

My head hurts from the passage of mime,

the silent fear that erodes from within,

and the real tension of having no answers.

It is only one simple jeopardy

of being human

Joanne Alfano is a cisgender, over-65, disabled and morbidly obese woman. For her, writing is art, craft, creation, recreation, necessity, passion, sedation, seduction, microscope, telescope, celebration, eulogy, and memoir. She has published poems in

several anthologies: Sea Glass Hearts; Poets to Come: A Poetry Anthology; NOVA Bards: An Anthology of Northern Virginia Poetry (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 editions), Poets Anonymous: 25 and Beyond, and forthcoming editions of Heart14 and Backchannels Journal. After a federal service career in the Washington, DC area, she retired, ran away from home, and moved to Lakeland, Florida with her life partner. She enjoys family, writing and reading, old movies, and creative play with her granddaughter.

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