Christine Stewart-Nuñez
Art of the Body

Christine Stewart-Nuñez - Art of the Body

Contest - 2nd Place
Poet and essayist Christine Stewart-Nuñez is the author of Untrussed (forthcoming 2016 from the University of New Mexico Press), Snow,… Read more »
Heidi Czerwiec
Nervous Systems

Heidi Czerwiec - Nervous Systems

Contest - 1st Place
Heidi Czerwiec is a poet, essayist, translator, and critic who teaches at the University of North Dakota, where she is… Read more »
Raquel Fontanilla
Souvenir From Where You’ve Been

Raquel Fontanilla - Souvenir From Where You’ve Been

Contest - 3rd Place
Raquel Fontanilla is a freelance translator with a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Tokyo. A native of… Read more »

Nervous Systems

Heidi Czerwiec

I sing the body electric.

—Whitman

While you religiously schedule regular checkups—medical, dental, car, etc.—you’re awful about going to the doctor for unscheduled breakdowns. You tend to save up lots of little problems and take the whole rag-and-bone shop in at the same time. Last May, right after classes ended, it was a wart on your finger, worsening plantar fasciitis, and an odd numb sensation you’d developed on the left side of your face.

Your doctor handily freezes the wart with a magical hiss of liquid nitrogen and arranges a shot of cortisone for your foot. But she says, “I don’t like the facial numbness. I want you to see a neurologist.” You don’t think too much about it because you’re freaking out about a needle being inserted in your heel, but it ends up being not that bad. You walk tenderly to the front desk and make another appointment. You go home, where your son pats you on the face and you barely feel it.

A neurological assessment is a bit like a DUI checkpoint—lights shining in your eyes while you touch your nose and balance and walk imaginary tightropes—except you also get… Read more »