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Culture

The Poetry Issue: Liz Dosta

Reconciling a certain prescribed womanhood.

watercolor collage
Illustration by Chioma Ebinama

Remote Control

I am bad
at the thing that glows,
bad at gently holding it
close. In the Western malls,
certain girls buy purple
clips and sparkly chapstick.
Doors slide back for their slender legs,
while fluorescent lights their way.
I developed
an ear over time,
for hearing too many voices,
watched too much
TV, until I walked straight
into the circuitry, walked past
the black box of shame (room in my father’s name).
I entered the small town
of electric reds and greens.
I was inside the thing itself.
Land of abandonment, imperceptible whirring.
I couldn’t tell if I should be coming or going
in the there of no there.
So I kneeled
beside my indecision, corrupted wire of black
hair. The girls,
they’ll be alright, certain ones. That low hum
of the early morning
is the buzz of the sleep
of sardonic teens. I never was one.
Now I’m grown, losing men
in honor of returning to my self-
doubt. I’m not warm, but near to. I keep
breaking up and getting back
together with myself. It’s a pattern,
draws a frantic line. Once, I lived among walls
covered in rainbows and ribbons, the light
and bind of a girlhood mind.
I guess I’ve always been acutely
alive. I’m incessantly watching
a new screen now. I texted Birthday Boy:
Do you want to see me?
I have become the picture projected,
line drawn in an earthquake,
white plates broken on the floor,
porcelain static.

Liz Dosta is a poet and artist. She resides in Brooklyn, New York.