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My Last Drink

The last time I had alcohol was on a blustery night in February of 2020, right before my college-age son’s musical. I’d traveled from Los Angeles to his rural Ohio college campus, and I drank two glasses of cheap chardonnay in the college café with its burgundy walls and snug booths.

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Coming Clean

The exam room bears an odor; it’s a musty sweetness, not unpleasant, but one that I know well–fetor hepaticus, a sign of severe liver disease.

My patient, Ms. Atkins, slouches on the exam table, brooding. She’s thirty-four years old, and an alcoholic. She is joined by her mother and her five-year-old daughter, Mari, who skips to my side, long braids bouncing off her shoulders.

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Metamorphosis

Lisa Burr ~

It was another simmering-hot Texas day, and the AC was faltering in the family-practice clinic where I worked as a family nurse practitioner. Most of our clients were poor and spoke only Spanish.

My nurse, Eliza, approached, wide-eyed.

“There’s a new patient–a woman named Maraby. She seems really angry,” she murmured. “She’s the color of Dijon mustard, and she’s wearing a long, heavy wool cape. She looks like she’s

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Jerry Stockton

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Jonathan Stockton

About the contributor: 

Jonathan is completing his MFA in photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He photographs in areas where communities form around addiction and documents how these communities change over time. His thesis show will be on view May 11-23 at MassArt’s Bakalar Gallery in Boston,

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Hard Facts and Fiction

Brian T. Maurer

At Daniel’s first visit, it had been like pulling teeth to get this fourteen-year-old slip of a boy to talk. Despite my thirty years experience as a physician assistant, I hadn’t made much headway. I’d pose a question, and his mother would jump in to answer it. He’d slouched on the exam table, staring at the floor. Occasionally he’d lift his eyes to meet mine, then quickly look away.

Daniel’s mother had

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