Betty Aubut

Jody

“Hi, I’m Jody. I’m a lesbian but don’t worry, it’s not like I’m going to attack you in the middle of the night.”

            I spun around to see a stocky woman with close cropped hair standing a bit too close for comfort. Jody appeared to be 20-something, like me, and wore tattered dungarees, left-overs from the 70s, like mine. I had been unpacking and quietly checking out my new digs on the unlocked unit of this prestigious, private, psychiatric hospital south of Boston. I think I did feel a bit attacked as Jody’s booming voice jolted me back to reality. I likely jumped a mile.

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Bonnie Henderson Schell

That’s It

By Bonnie Henderson Schell

Strange things were happening to me, and I was scared. I knew that I had developed tardive dyskinesia and torticollis. The skin around my lips was chapped because my tongue hung out of my mouth, making a circle, licking my lips. I drooled all night on my pillow and down the front of my clothes. It was difficult not to walk to the left because lately my neck and body were painfully twisted in that direction so that the necklines of my sweaters and tunics fell off my left shoulder. I had stopped going to lunch with anyone and turned down phone calls using Facetime. I avoided the mirror over the sink.

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Deb Rogers

I Collected Four Pall Bearers Along the Way

1: The Notifying Officer

Estranged is an elegant word for a particular brutality. My family is sick with it. My brother died within the immurement of many estrangements: from me, from our bad father, from our mother, from (presumably) friends and old lovers. Meaning, he died alone. “Unattended” is the word the very gentle sheriff used when he broke the news to me a full country away from that brother, away from his body that was now in need of a next of kin. We don’t discuss how or why my brother was not in possession of a next of kin during the last moments of his life nor in the many days he waited after death for neighbors to summon a clean-up crew.

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MT Vallarta

In Memoriam 

September 30, 2021 

Four months ago, my partner and I broke up. 

We were together for six years. We met during our first year in graduate school. We clung to each other like lost children. We had sex the first time we kissed. Twenty-four hours later, they told me I was the one. I was the one for years. The one who got lost in a department store in New Jersey. The one who was bullied for being Asian. The one with the traumatic memories. The one who almost made their mother faint with their difficultness. 

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Diane Renee Tomasi

And a Cherry on Top

It was a brisk January day, the sun was bright and shining. It was the kind of day when I look out the window and the sun convinces me Spring has come early, I go outside and then have to immediately zip my jacket all the way up, pull my collar high around my neck and shove my ungloved hands into my pockets: ridiculing myself for being naïve. 

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