Diagnostic Notes on The Bachelorette
reality sugar-spun the too-white teeth of each
contestant clicking like the pop of orbit gum out of the pack
for three months i’ve found myself devouring gaze pinned
on their economy of vulnerability are you here
for the right reasons? do you know how to play the game?
i admit, i was cynical at the beginning of this journey.
thought The Bachelorette could never be for me.
then the moon is out again the sliver in my chest waxes
and bloats. an emptiness swells more space than it should.
yes, love, your absence fills me
a sugarcane nausea a tug in the throat a waiting.
but enough about me. so what, i was a skeptic? you have to trust
the process: the careful giving over of the self the tender pit
of small talk. Becca sits in front of a man
and he tells her he is his mother’s only surviving child
the other two dead (a few years apart) of overdose.
we first kissed a few weeks after your last bad relapse.
but it isn’t this I think of first, it’s my nervousness
as you turned each pill bottle in your hand bare chested
the milk spilt moon silvering my twin bed into halves
and didn’t ask. just waited until it unspooled. that year of sharp
and shiver. that was when i knew i was falling.
later, you will bandage the scars you kissed. it’s a risk to strip so early.
to show your hand. how good or bad. how it shakes. after champagne
& a dinner date, Becca sends the suitor home.
something about spark or lack of it or maybe following her heart.
but through the canned rejection and recycled mantras, i find myself,
still always rooting for love smiling into curled fingers
as someone else spills their guts & hopes they stick.
Caroline Shea was formerly the Editor in Chief of Vantage Point Magazine and the 2014 Kenyon Young Writers Workshop anthology, where her work was featured. Her poetry has appeared in Bad Pony Magazine, Souvenir, and Moonsick Magazine. She lives in New England and works as an editorial assistant for a local women-run small press.