Sometimes good writing is a salve, a balm to soothe a burn, a glint of wisdom or joy; sometimes it cuts you deeper, digging into an old wound long forgotten. It's like, all within the same moment, remembering the undiscussed dent punched in the wall at your sister's apartment, the way the sunlight shone by the pool and made your baby niece's tiny ear glow red, or the way your now-dead dad used to patiently hook the bait for you, because you were too afraid to hurt something living so directly, with your hands. A great piece of writing might pull you through the ringer of emotions, up and down and around—there was a time when I was really open to that, where I'd go to a poetry reading and I'd hear something like that that would gut me. That's when we "mmm" and yelp and squeak and snap. I recently reread local writer Andria Nacina Cole's "Like Bees Wanting Out the Terrible Hive"—a devastating and terrifically written short story about a toxic and abusive family—from our Fiction and Poetry Issue last year and felt everything at once, again. Cole has an incredible delivery, too, when she reads: patient, sturdy, almost stoic, though sometimes the story is hard to stomach. Let yourself feel and don't miss out on tonight's reading, with Cole, Ailish Hopper, and KL Parr. 6-8 p.m., Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Brent Room, 811 Cathedral St., (410) 685-1130, emmanueldowntown.org, free.