Carol by Chaim Rochester

I met Carol when I was in my early twenties. She was sweet and funny, with a gravelly Jersey accent and a streetwise tomboy persona. I don’t know how she ended up homeless and turning tricks on the streets of Sin City, but we crossed paths in the circle of transient addicts I was running with at the time and took to each other immediately—the fast bond of street siblings that often occurs between the desperate and the damned.

Carmela by Anaís Martinez Jimenez

Twenty minutes passed. The doctor had been testing Carmela with small cuts. She screamed in agony each time. She was feeling everything, and she could especially feel every slit, stealing that initial resolve. Cut by cut, her screams grew louder and louder, her worry deeper and deeper. This was not as simple as death. This was not a clean sacrifice. She kept herself from pushing for what felt like hours until, with a final scream, her body took over.

What We Left Behind by Libby Bachhuber

My mind keeps returning to an image of myself sitting in my chair at the office—my therapist chair—in March 2023. Only the dim winter sun and the murmur of passing cars filtered in through the window on my left. Inside, the air purifier hummed. The couch across from me had been left empty when my patient stood to leave a few minutes before. I had closed the door behind her, then moved to my desk to retrieve my phone. Anticipating an unscheduled hour, I’d returned to my chair and lit up the screen, searching without thinking.

Oedipus in Arabia by Karim Dajani

Ideas about the centrality of culture and collective in the structuring of the unconscious have been largely walled off, extruded from our canon. Nevertheless, they reappear. A central idea that keeps blooming in the cracks of concrete walls regards the social unconscious in all its permutations or the ways groups and their cultures are reproduced in individuals and the ways individuals reproduce their groups and their cultures in their perception, thinking, and comportment.

The Coptic Saint of Lost Objects by Mireille El Magrissy

I didn’t know the square I passed every morning was called El-Galaa Square until I was older…. Through the imagined possibilities produced by the symbol of the square, I began to question and search for meaning behind other meanings. Behind images, regressions, power dynamics, landmarks, ruminations, ruptures, separations, and associations.

What the Pandemic Did to My Mind by Elizabeth Wallace

The early days of the pandemic created a miasma of vast uncertainty in the world that seeped into our collective minds. Mental fault lines throughout the population manifested in paranoia and a preoccupation with scarcity, along with polarization of the world into “good” and “bad” people, places, and countries.

Hallowed Spaces by Sara Mansfield Taber

As I think back on my life, I have most felt a sense of community in the least likely places. I was raised abroad, and all through my growing-up years, I often found myself feeling foreign and out of place when I set foot in my passport country, while overseas, at odd moments, in places I had the least right to do so, I would feel accepted and taken in. This experience has repeated itself throughout my life. 

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.