“my new psychiatrist” by Alisha Escobedo

i’m waiting to meet my new psychiatrist,
 hoping she won’t look like my mother.

i’ve had that happen before and couldn’t get past it—
 same sad eyes opened wide to feign joy,

same pursed lips that puckered a bit to the left.
 a few times, i imagined her hiding wine behind her desk. 

i canceled the rest of my appointments to spite her 
 for all the promises my mother broke.

this new one doesn’t look familiar.
 she carries a warmth i’ve only dreamed of.

she calls my name and i follow her
 down the hall. we listen to my shoes squeak

like old hinges opening. she smiles at me,
 says she knows how to fix that, then gives me

a prescription for ten milligrams of lexapro—
 the same pill my mother swallows every morning,

with a cold beer to ease it down.
 my new psychiatrist sends me on my way,

says she’ll see me in a month.
 the next time i see her, my shoes still squeak

and when she looks at me,
 i see a version of my mother i’ve never known,

a version from before i was born.
 i tell her i don’t want to leave.

i ask her if i can stay.
 i promise to be quiet.

she sighs and ups my dose.

Alisha Escobedo (she/her/hers) received her MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her work explores themes of queer womanhood, generational trauma, and addiction, and can be found in The Acentos Review, The Los Angeles Press, and Desolate Country: We the Poets, United, Against Trump. She sporadically posts/deletes photos to/from her IG @ayescobe.

Featured Photo by Ángel López on Unsplash