The Father Shift

I was twenty-three years old the first time I saw my father wearing a dress.

Motherhood Requiem

Nadia Ghent One afternoon, after my mother had fallen ill for the fourth or fifth…

Our Eyes Were Watching Marcia

Television had always been a perfect distraction from our family’s drama and trauma, soothing us more than our Baptist faith.

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.