Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Winter 2017

Volume 14 Issue 1



Breath and Shadow
Winter 2017
Volume 14 Issue 1

My Catahoula Is Gone

the day after she died
i searched for the spot
where the winter rye
still lay flattened
by the weight of her body

thinking maybe in the night
the blades had unclenched
quietly as tired hands
relaxing their grips.

but the shallow depression
in a sea of grass
continued on
as far as the eye
could see

and every cross-stitch
remained bent
as if from the weight
of a great machine.

Friday Night Dance at a Private Sanitarium

out of step with the music,
we moved to the
submerged beats of

your hair shaved close
as a jarhead’s and
slender white feet
plodding in snuggies,

a shadow trying to unpeel
from the tinder swamps
of southern cemeteries
where terrible secrets lay:

it wasn’t easy being mad and
virtuous as your name, berean,
slowdancing with the slow kid
at the punchbowl assembly

who stood a head taller
than the other 6th graders.

but moment by graceless moment
we celebrated friday
with Fats Domino and
The Four Tops

afraid to hold too close
because something
might go wrong

signaling it was time
to dance into
the red silk tunnel

of lips sewn shut
and music
too beautiful
to share.

Doug May has a mild mental handicap (78 to 86 scores on the Stanford Binet, WISC and California Mental Maturity IQ tests). he got a lot of tutoring and special attention in the early grades and earned a GED and later took college and vocational classes. he has worked at different jobs, everything from data entry to proofreader, food server, landscaper, janitor and home health aide. Besides poetry, he plays the piano and likes to draw and cartoon.

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