Listen to Siobhan Hebron read her poem, “If I Die From Covid.”
Siobhan Hebron is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Los Angeles. She graduated from UCLA in 2012 with a B.A. in both Art and Art History. Hebron’s work takes from her personal diagnosis of cancer and broader dialogues of illness, chronic conditions, disability and ableism, and the sick female body. Her most recent project was an 80+ page compilation of her own work over the last five years, released on the five year anniversary of her cancer diagnosis. Hebron is currently pursuing a Patient Advocacy certificate and plans to continue exploring and making work about illness to advance conversations between the artistic and medical communities. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her website siobhanhebron.com.
Art by Samantha Jones: “Items that are typically ordinary and forgettable may become nuclei of stress and fixation for people with OCD. The ink sketch, Home sweet home, depicts one perspective of a home defined by its stressors. The distortion and repetition of items emphasizes the disproportionate amount of attention dedicated to checking behaviours. The stylized electrical outlets are almost anthropomorphic and look as if they are calling out for consideration. Variation in outlet size represents the hierarchy of concern that focuses obsessions and compulsions on certain items based on differences in perceived risk. Home sweet home intends to build compassion through showcasing a different, deeply personal way of viewing the objects and items that make up daily life.”
Listen to “Incantations,” read by Samantha Jones.
Samantha Jones (she/her) co-exists with OCD, sometimes more peacefully than other times. She is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary and received a Certificate in Creative Writing from Continuing Education at the same institution in 2014. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Room, Grain, New Forum, Eunoia Review, and blue skies poetry. Her fiction is available in the Short Édition Short Story Dispenser at the Calgary Public Library and is forthcoming in the related anthology, Tap, Press, Read, curated and edited by Loft on EIGHTH. Samantha lives and writes in Calgary, Canada. You can follow her on Twitter @jones_yyc.
“Hey, sister.” Sean leans in, his eyes glazed with Haldol. “I hold gardens of eternal life in my hands.” I nod. It’s another day in group therapy. If we don’t attend, they will hear about it, and there would be no dinner seconds, no sodas, no popsicles. Every day I pledge allegiance to pillboxes and self-care, just as long as they don’t prescribe meds that make me a slack-jawed shell.
I am one of the lucky ones. When the blackness eases out of me, I will be released, maybe after two weeks. Lifers like Sean will always drift in and out of these corridors. Now he shoulders a white robe, his face brilliant under the florescent glare.
Before dinner, I pace the lavender rec-room. Beatrice sobs in a worn recliner. Soon, they’ll wheel her up again to fifth floor for ECT. Beatrice’s eyes are bruised hollows, her hands—cupped lilies straining for light. She sways against a whorl of darkness.
I remember Wyeth’s painting of the girl prostrate in a field. She claws at the earth, craning towards the houses on the hill. I wonder what the people in the houses are doing: frying bacon on cast iron skillets, ironing shirts while the girl is swallowed up by tawny grasses.
The meal cart rattles through the Plexiglassed doors. Mounds of green beans and stringy chicken slosh on plates. Someone plinks Amazing Grace on the piano until an orderly locks the lid. I weep into my dinner.
Bolted to ceiling, the television weatherman motions to pleats of red, orange, and blue surging from the edges of the screen. Outside the city limits, storms loom over a savage field.
Sayuri Ayers is from Columbus, Ohio. The daughter of immigrants, her work explores identity, mental health, and motherhood. Her prose and poetry appear in Entropy, SWWIM, Hobart, The Pinch, and other literary journals. She is the author of two chapbooks: Radish Legs, Duck Feet (Green Bottle Press) and Mother/Wound (forthcoming from Full/Crescent Press.) Sayuri is a Kundiman Fellow and Soaring Gardens Resident. In 2020, she was awarded the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for creative nonfiction. Please visit her at sayuriayers.com or follow her on Twitter @Urban_Lily.