Wearing short sleeves in the summer may not seem frivolous but when your arms are covered in the scars of psoriasis, wounds fresh, wounds old and wounds that are still to come, you begin to wear long sleeves as if they were your own skin.


Blue by Shela Breau

A homeless man shouted at me from across the street as I was walking with my son, “Bed bugs! Bed bugs! Don’t let the bed bugs bite that baby.”

I wondered if he remembered that only a few days ago I gave him pocket change and cigarettes. He never thanked me.

I ignored him and walked on.

Two days later I was arrested for shoplifting skin care products. The arresting officer wouldn’t even touch me to put on cuffs. He borrowed gloves from a sales clerk who snorted in distaste at my appearance. I could almost reach out and touch the waves of hate seeping from her very core.

Upon my arrival at the Burnside clink I was denied long sleeves at admission. After getting settled in, a girl in my day room handed me a long-sleeved shirt, told me her name and said simply, “I understand.”

How unusual and lovely it was for me to find compassion in a person who had been condemned for being anything but compassionate.

About Naomi Sears

Naomi Sears is from Barrington Passage, NS. She now lives in Halifax and devotes her time to her two-year-old son. She also writes, sings, and plays guitar and ukulele. This essay was created during a writing workshop at the Central Nova Correctional Facility (Burnside) and is her first publication.

About Shela Breau

Shela Breau likes to paint a world that is not quite visible. Entranced by a face in the crowd, the wisp of the mane of a race horse or the stealth of a big cat—these percolate slowly. These themes manifest mysteriously over a few days, either into a haunting presence on a piece of canvas or impressed over handmade paper that has been printed in her studio. For the past ten years, she has disappeared for the winter to search out other translators in the art world, to learn new techniques or to be inspired. Her study of archaeology and travel to exotic destinations have permeated her work for decades. She hopes to provide paintings that transcend and capture the vistas she has been so fortunate to witness or imagine. Her studio, Art on School in Annapolis Royal, NS, will be showing her work the last weekend of July 2016 for Studio Rally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *