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Breath & Shadow

Winter 2023 - Vol. 20, Issue 1

"Ties That Bind"

written by

Megan Dausch

My guide dog’s harness and leash link us.  Subtle sways of his body

vibrate through the tether

as we work together to unravel our surroundings.

I move through the world.

Hands guide me to explore.

Touch the flower’s petals,

slice the fruit,

hold the baby bird.

But wait, be careful. You might crush the flower, cut your fingers, hurt the bird.

Voices reel me in;

throw me back.

Perception lashes me

to the ground.

I think I have room to move, but leeway is an illusion.

I yearn to cut the rope with scissors made

from equity. I feel their cool relief

like haircutting shears Pulsing against the nape of my neck,

but loss exposes me. I am unmoored without judgment.

How do I find

the umbilical cord that binds

me to this world?

How do I reshape the way I move through

the sea of impressions?

I will braid twine

from strands of justice, hope and empathy.

From words, and love and chocolate.

Twist them together with the knowledge

that all bodies occupy space

in this shared universe.

And as much as we might try

to press the atoms of our thoughts upon one another,

no two objects can occupy the same place.

If this line breaks, I will restring

another. And I will choose

how I

Anchor myself.

I fasten my guide dog’s leash; Leather supple with love.

We step out into the spring day.

Grip a thread of hope

that the ties we create will free us.

Megan Dausch is a writer and accessibility specialist from Long Island, New York, where she makes her home with her husband and guide dog. She earned her MA in Language and Literacy from the City College of New York.  Her work has appeared in Claw & Blossom, Bards Annual 2021, Third Wednesday, the Tishman Review and others. Drawing from her experiences as a blind woman, her writing explores life through imagery and sensory language.

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