Chemical Serenity

by Alka Bhargava

I think I have a crush on my new psychiatrist,
just like the one I have on my handsome gynecologist
He gave me two hours instead of just one—
he was gentle and he spoke in soothing measured tones

He asked me, Ms. Bhargava, why have you come?
I told him, Doctor, I can't quit smoking
I'm anxious and I cannot concentrate at work,
I doubt if I'm depressed, though I've not slept for months
My ex-husband would say I'm a little high strung

My shrink had debriefed him,
he spoke of her warmly,
she in turn had told him that
I am a writer of poetry
How lovely that we all approve of each other
What we have here, Doc, is a therapeutic alliance

He said you've been through some major upheavals,
you may still be mourning, you may not be done
I knew where he was going so I interrupted
Just tell me, Doctor, how can I be sad
when I am the life of every party?
My friends and my family say I'm thriving,
they'll testify that I am doing quite well

He said please don't worry it's just a mild case
It won't be forever, a few months at most
Here is the combination that I recommend:
you'll start with some Zoloft and then add Wellbutrin
to pump up your dopamines and soothe your serotonins

I said, Why, Doctor, you yourself are a poet,
your pills inspire confidence with their very names,
They'll surely reorganize my neurotransmitters—
alright then, Doctor, let's medicate my brain

Oh, how wonderful my life will be
I'll sleep and I'll wake up without the alarm
I'll be a good worker, won't need cigarettes
I'll even stop thinking about that man I can't be with

He said, anyway, love is like a disease
why we choose who we do remains a mystery
which cannot be deciphered completely with science
It's a matter best left for the spiritual realms

I was more chagrined than relieved to hear this
but I filed it away, and screwed up my courage
I had one more question which had to be answered
I cleared my throat and I looked at the rug

Doctor, before you dial the pharmacy's number,
there's a delicate question you must address for me
Will these pills change the scent that attracts buzzing bees—
worse still, could they make me impossible to please?
If so dear Doctor, I'd prefer to be depressed
And I don't care if I ever get a good night's sleep

He said, my dear, you fear anhedonia
but the dose I will give will not bring it on
Your thirty-six year old exuberance will not be hampered
I blushed but I was grateful to hear his frank answer

We shook hands then, my psychiatrist and me
agreeing we would meet again if I found
I could not tolerate my chemical serenity
I thanked him for his kindness and for the extra time
I walked down to the park to sit and write

I think I have a crush on my new psychiatrist
I feel so damn good, I think I'll make another appointment