Becoming essential during Covid-19.

“Even though the facility had kept the virus out of the building so far, the pandemic was killing my dad.”

The author with her father, just days before he died.

The first time I saw my father at his memory care facility, after ten weeks of Covid-19 lockdown, he sat at the breakfast table, slumped in his wheelchair. He wore only a hospital gown, hospital-issued socks with treads, and a blanket draped over his shoulders. When the blanket slipped away, gooseflesh rose on his bare arms. And his arms were marked with purple bruises.

Jane survived Covid-19. Her roommate, Elida, did not.

“I‘m not going to start the blame game … except to blame the government for sabotaging the CDC and science.”

Stills from Jane’s video.

Editors’ Note: Violinist Jane Soyka lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Covid-19 spiked dramatically in November. Her story shows how quickly symptoms can go from mild to severe, how dire conditions are in emergency wards, and how confusing the spread can be.

Dr. Leslie Hayes took every precaution, but she still caught COVID — her thoughts on contagion, masks, the vaccine, and the holidays.

“The virus had gone through 50 people before I got it. Many of them took precautions and then just got unlucky, but some of them were careless or didn’t think the rules applied to them …”

Leslie Hayes, M.D., treats patients in Española, New Mexico, a state experiencing one of the most severe crises from the late-November / early-December COVID-19 spike.

Alexandra Blum, “The Third Wave.” Mixed media, November 2020.

So, 2020 has not been kind to me. I broke my hip and then I got COVID. Unrelated but inconvenient.

“… I don’t know if his hands are moving

but I bet they are somehow I’d feel

washed over like that too and be so

proud of us”

who we were when


A young family takes a risk to return from abroad.

“In the last few years, when I’ve gone abroad it has become an increasingly bigger test of courage to state I’m from the U.S.”

The New York Times maintains an interactive daily global virus tracker at

Shortly before leaving England, I took my daughter to our favorite park to let her stomp about a pitted soccer field. It’s an old park surrounded on three sides by woods and on one side by a brick wall of a Victorian-era prison.

A pandemic and other global breakdowns inspire a visual journal of diverse styles and influences.

“I think for me what is interesting about this series of work is the diversity of voices within myself.”


Editors’ Note: Alexandra (Ali) Blum is a California-based artist who draws on influences from around the world. When the quarantine was put in place, she started a series of paintings — which quickly became a series of mixed-media artworks — addressing the pandemic, politics, climate change, racism, protests, and other big topics of 2020.

We give thanks for good work in a difficult time.

Jefferson Davis statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. Photograph by Gregory Weatherford.

We at Broad Street are proud of everything we publish, and we wish we could nominate all of it for every award out there. Alas, we can choose only a handful. For Best of the Net, some nominees come from our Summer/Fall 2019 “Birth, School, Work, Death” issue, some from our 2020 Pandemonium Blog. All of them come from the heart. Why not give them a read or a re-read right now?


I Got Grown,” a memoir by Joe Milan, Jr.: A young man begins work where others’ lives end.

It’s as welcoming as a mother, but none of this was personal.

When a tsetse fly


Nobody wants to live with a corpse …

Screaming at the Brooklyn Bridge

After Robert Lowell’s “Waking in the Blue”

Going meds-free when the world is having a major depressive episode.

“Maybe depression is a normal response to a global pandemic. We don’t really have benchmarks for such an event. If I get down, what can I use to help me bounce back?”

I do not plan to cry.

Broad Street Magazine

An interdisciplinary magazine of nonfiction narratives and artwork.

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