Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
Photography by Michael Dykstra
She, brought in by ambulance, that winter day
The tiny snowflakes peacefully falling their blind way
Broken, betrayed; Fresh track marks on her arms…
“Will I never get saved from doing self-harm?”
From the abyss of hell she never felt kindness
She left AMA… How to end stigma in this crisis?
We met again one rainy morning with falling leaves…
Shattered hopes; she, disheveled and withdrawn;
Fresh track marks on her neck with infection,
Feeling lost with no sense of direction;
Her life-long battle started that day,
Fighting hard to end cycles of numbness and self-decay…
Recovery came through long nights, endless days,
Treatments, mundane meetings, deaths and rebirths,
Exploring her own reality;
She learned how to trust, to cope, ask for help,
Every day-little steps…
Healing scars brought solace,
Blossoming trees, gentle breeze
Not alone in this disease.
EVGENIYA LARIONOVA, MSN, MA, RN, FNP-BC, is a Family Nurse Practitioner, who graduated from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. She created AMGITS Drama & Poetry Club where she raises issues of stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV/AIDS and substance use disorders and teaches a lay audience about the disease concepts through creative expression. Evgeniya enjoys poetry, acting, hiking and running. She is hoping to advance her studies in a PhD program next year.