Displacement: Illness & Health

To be ill is to be displaced—displaced from health, displaced from one’s former self, displaced from the community of the well.

Off The Page: The Tapeworm

Amy V. Blakemore reads from her prize-wining essay, “The Tapeworm” from BLR Issue 40.

Off the Page: BLR@20 – Breathing

Dr. Shanda McManus reads an excerpt from her BLR essay, “Breathing,” as part of BLR’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.

The Next Bullet

Despite my respect for my students, I was afraid of them. Afraid of the  way they watched me as I delivered a lecture, afraid of whispers, silences. 

Illness as Muse

It is not unusual, after I’ve given a poetry reading, for some impossibly young writer from the audience to remark over the post-literary pretzels and Diet Coke, “Wow, your stuff is really depressing.’’


My office is quiet except for the noise I make: the click of the light switch, the hum of the computer, the crinkle of my paper gown as I unwrap it. I pull on my PPE—gown, gloves, mask, and goggles—makeshift protection as I evaluate patients for suspected Covid infection.

Cancer, So Far

Last summer, the moths clung to the shingles of our house. They fluttered right past us, mottled wings snapping, through our open door.

Of Mothers and Monkeys

My medical knowledge is limited to what I have learned here at the lab. All of it applicable only to non-human mammals.

Snapshots of Bellevue

The “General Slocum,” was the biggest and fastest harbor day-liner. That day, about 2,000 passengers, embarked for an annual Sunday School excursion.