Fall 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 4 Luminous Gender Vessel |

Long Before I Was Man Myself

is how I start a lot of my stories these days. It is fun to watch my own discomfort visit another’s face for once. I like to make my audience nervous, especially when my audience is me. Long before I was man myself, I longed to be something else. Not quite man not quite not. But it made my father nervous, and I don’t like to do that. I never have. My father is a nervous man, especially at airports. He says it’s because my mother gets nervous and then he worries about her heart so he gets a little shaky too. Long before I was man myself, I was a daughter trying to bring my parents to me since I moved to this country. They can’t fly alone though. My father says, Why don’t you come back, you can take your mother with you. Fly together. The first time an immigration officer yelled, shortcode into my father’s ear twice, my mother got nervous, yelled back, shortcode he is hard of hearing can i come over[

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Photo of Sreshtha Sen

Sreshtha Sen is a poet from Delhi. They studied Literatures in English at Delhi University, and completed their MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and their PhD at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in Apogee, bitch media, Hyperallergic, Hyphen Magazine, The Margins, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Sen has previously worked at Poets & Writers, The Believer, and UNLV, and is currently an assistant professor in expository writing at NYU.

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