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The Black Dog

It was a particularly sunny morning, and golden light streamed through the clinic windows. Seated in my preceptor’s office, I scanned her list of patients for the day. As a first-year medical student, I was to do preliminary interviews with some, and I hoped to find a few cases that would offer a chance to test my diagnostic reasoning.

The list held a lot of the usual–medication follow-ups, annual physicals, well-child checks—plus Ernest, a seventy-eight-year-old man who’d come into the

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At Three O’Clock

Running to make my Tuesday biopsy appointment, I tripped, landing viciously on my hands and knees at the corner of Madison Avenue and 79th. Embarrassed, I was helped up by a gray-haired lady in her eighties. For an instant, I wondered if I’d get to be her age.

Walking into the clinic, I saw my husband, who’d insisted on meeting me there. My beige pants were slightly ripped and bloodstained, my knees tingling and smarting.

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COVID Birdsong

Once I spent days, which became weeks, which become months, by myself in a small house in the village of Oshikango, Namibia. Two years prior, I had arrived there as a newly minted college graduate, eager to begin my new NGO job of teaching high-school science and HIV education.

It didn’t take long for the bubble of confident competence to burst.

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The Magic Touch

Betsy Willis ~

Many months have passed since the spring day when I was hit with the news from my yearly mammogram, but those typewritten words are forever etched in my memory: “The density appears greater in left breast.”

My doctor comforted me with statistics showing that mammograms aren’t 100 percent accurate–but she also lost no time in sending me to a surgeon, Dr. Prewitt. Upon meeting him, I immediately felt sure that

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Blueberry Picking

Roz Levine

We ran from an outbreak of polio
Abandoned the Bronx for a summer hideaway
In the shadow of the Catskill Mountains
Each day we traipsed craggy trails
Stooped low beneath clear skies
Plucked mounds of dark blues
From bushes bursting with ripe fruit
Filled our baskets to overflow

It should have been all this:
Sunshine on eight-year-old skin
Fresh air on

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