The Brunette on TV Says All You Do Is Leave

Sreshtha Sen

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.