Lightning Sketch by David Morse

After a few seconds’ struggle, it comes to me by degrees—that time at our last visit when I sat sketching her mother’s house. I can summon the feeling of sitting down on something—I don’t recall what—the sensation of my drawing hand in motion, the intensity of my gaze, the freedom. And that moment of knowing when the sketch was finished, when to stop. I can call up those sensations now. 

Vaccines, Viruses, and Proximities by Keiko Lane

One of the biggest challenges to my enactment of queerness during COVID is my decision to shift my psychotherapy practice entirely to telehealth, removing my body from proximity to my clients’ bodies. […] And yet the fantasy that we can keep each other safe is as faulty as the fantasy that in psychotherapy we can keep from being touched by each other. Isn’t it?

Fascism-The Appointment in Samarra by Era Loewenstein

Wars, atrocities, and political upheavals shape our destiny. Ideologies and propaganda mold our views of what is real and what is true. My history also taught me that just as we cannot escape death, we may not be able to get away from fascism. Fascism, unfortunately, as Hannah Arendt has taught us, is here to stay.[…]

Russian and Ukranian Therapists Speak by Micki Wierman

I attended a symposium featuring analysts and therapists who are living and working in Ukraine or Russia, as well as those who have fled from their homes in those countries. They have come together in virtual town halls to support themselves and one another during this war. Those working inside Russia work with patients who live in Ukraine, and vice versa. Some are continuing to work with their patients, and some have stopped. All, for their own reasons or reasons outside their control.

Depathologizing Psychic Disruption by Annita Sawyer

The van climbs ever higher. I marvel at the spare, rocky landscape and the vast distances on every side as we make our way, curving upward, sometimes perilously close to the edge. Above it all, the Big Sky takes my breath away. Despite the many references I’ve read and the photos I’ve seen, I never imagined this experience: its vast enormity as an experience. I am in Wyoming for the first time.
How profound it feels to be thrust into a new world, stunned by its unique beauty, the feel of the air, new fragrances, new animals. I saw a magpie for the first time in Wyoming. Bald eagles flew overhead. What dazzled me most were the light and the wind, and especially the sky that never stopped changing. I could have stood still and watched all day, transfixed. In fact, I had intended to do just that, but the pandemic intruded, and we couldn’t stay.

My Back-Alley Abortion by Adrienne Harris

…It has a space to lie down. Other than that, the room is bare. I am tempted to use the word “barren,” which I think captures a fear I cannot articulate. All I can feel is how afraid I am. What am I wearing—a surgical gown? Perhaps just a slip and underwear. I remember already feeling shame and fear. I don’t or can’t really take in the specifics of my surroundings. I am terrified, shame-ridden, more singularly alone than ever in my life, though my life is not very long at this moment.

August 23, 2022: Kamianets-Podilskyi by Svitlana Matviyenko

I am sitting on the windowsill in my living room. It’s five in the morning of the 181st day of the war. The night was sleepless, sirens after sirens, when the valley with the river canyon amplifying the sounds give it such volume that the city landscape alone never does, as it swallows the city steers, activating dogs and most certainly birds much earlier than their time. After a short while of peaceful rest, after the sirens stopped, my town, covered with a thick layer of fog, is slowly awakening: the curfew is over. Everything here is now immersed in a complete silence that you can only encounter in a small town like mine and in that rare moment when the choir of morning birds is quiet already but the people are still not out on the streets. This silence is so surreal and overwhelming amid the war.

August 27, 2021: Philadelphia by Elaine Zickler

…I never walk in the city in order to make friends, although every encounter, for the most part, is a friendly one in the city. I am an old woman now, and the city has been ravaged even more than I have been, by death and sickness, by neglect and violent desperation, so I have the sudden realization that it has always been the city itself I have loved, the city itself that has been my friend.

Feeding by Roa Harb

It begins when any one of us living abroad confirms dates for a visit. My mother starts asking weeks in advance for our favorite foods so that she can core, stuff, mince, chop, and knead her way into neatly packed pans, ready to be thrown into the oven at a moment’s notice. On too many occasions, I’ve objected to this cheerful affirmation of the assumption that as expats we must be living in a state of food deprivation, possibly surviving on caloric stores between one visit and the next—to no avail. But it turns out that my younger sisters do have their favorite foods. It also turns out that I’ve had them—vociferously—in the mid-2000s.