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Dissociation in Six Parts

By Lisa Tricarico


I’m standing in my elementary school bathroom,

Staring into the mirror

When I first become



Seated in the waiting room of a Boston law office,

My father in a meeting,

I stare at a large landscape painting on the wall.

Suddenly I’m falling

through the frame.

I’m twelve.


It’s summertime in the Hamptons.

I go to kiss my father goodnight

But I don’t recognize his face —

features distorted and grotesque.

I say nothing, ruminate in bed.

I’m thirteen.


I’m age nineteen-almost-twenty,

Recently released from the psychiatric ward,

Out to dinner with friends.

Their voices are far away and echoing,

Then much too loud.

Something is wrong,

Something is wrong,

I have to go home —

Dad says, You’re okay, it was a panic attack.

Go lie down.


I’m twenty, sitting on the floor of the family room,

Trying to feel my face —

I can’t feel my face.

I’m touching it, pinching it, but

I can’t feel my hands on my face.

Can I feel my legs?

A little bit.

Something is wrong.

Something is very wrong.

The clock reads 3:00 AM when I call my psychiatrist’s emergency line.

It’s called depersonalization —

You’re in luck, he tells me.

You’re already taking the medication used to treat it —

Take extra tonight and call me in the morning.

It should help immediately.

It does.


I’m 30-something.

Life is a series of Polaroids,

A glitchy stop motion film,

sound as if from far away.

Walking the dog,

I fear I’ll fall through

The sidewalk.

I trip over cracks, the world spins faster—

Where in space is my body?

Where are my feet?


Lisa Tricarico is a non-binary person of indeterminate age who, more often than not, can be found in the audience of the Broadway musical, & Juliet. When not attending performances, they spend their time scribbling furiously in their journal, listening to the & Juliet OBCR.

Lisa has a very dusty graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling, which has come in handy while working behind the scenes with youth theatre groups. They are passionate about helping other humans navigate the treacherous terrain of life, and believe involvement in the arts is necessary to this endeavor.

Lisa lives with their partner of many years and their sweet nugget of dog, Watson. You can find them on Instagram.


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