The Brunette on TV Says All You Do Is Leave
and I have never | wanted so instantly | so much
as to be this heterosexual | doctor who scoops
her chin | into his hand | as big |as my want to be | him when he says
You just don’t understand | how many women | have I whispered that to
my fear forced | to propel | words | I have always hated myself
if I was this famous fake doctor, I bet the network would sponsor my visa
wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake | & save | lives | that weren’t my own
to even say I want | to save lives & not | be asked: how why who why where why
I’d know where anyway | I’d spell out a city | & they’d jet me in
guest appearance | & after if | I chose to stay | because I could | do that
anyone could | if I asked nicely enough | me as doctor/president/nation
they’d just let me be | I would let myself | Oh, I would frame
all the women’s faces |sigh: you just don’t
understand | not because I was me |unsure | of what city I’d be |
in come summer | not because all women become
my mother’s face | I would never stop nursing
but because I was just | an asshole | who had slept
with too many women |O to be just an asshole!
Let’s be honest | I probably won’t be a star | but I promise I’ll settle
for the role | of that awkward BFF | armed with this accent a student blamed
for them failing last semester | me not too gay not | too brown | just enough
for the ratings to spike | ethnic they’d call me |in interviews where the director
shuffled her sheets | with pride to announce | we wanted it to be authentic no
we couldn’t | get a real doctor so we got a poet instead | aren’t they just as important?
The love of my life keeps | waking next to me | the on-screen doctor is a loud kisser
In a few days I’ll tell her |just like I told the love of my | life before her
I cannot do this | until I know | where I’ll be for the next five years at least
& she’ll say | is this because I keep falling asleep during your show | I won’t
Ask you to lower the volume again | please | stay | & I’ll say
You just don’t understand | when really | all I do is leave.
Sreshtha Sen (@sreshthasen) is a writer from Delhi, India and one of the founding editors of The Shoreline Review, an online journal for and by South Asian poets, She studied Literatures in English from Delhi University and completed her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. Her work can be found or forthcoming in Bitch Media, BOAAT, Breakwater Review, Hyperallergic, MACK, The Margins, Meridian and she won an Amy Award in 2017. She was the 2017-18 Readings/Workshops fellow at Poets & Writers and currently lives and teaches in Las Vegas, where she's completing her PhD in English and Creative Writing.