Doll House

Monday, October 25, 2021

Manuella Djomaleu’s “Doll House” earned second place in the Storytelling Contest creative writing category. The poem flips the raw feelings of imposter syndrome during medical training into a search for the true roots of those feelings. The narrator blends visceral metaphors of sight, sound, and touch to ask again and again how many sacrifices must be made in a culture of discrimination. Moving from the physical to the psychological, the poem confronts the reader with what it really means to sacrifice one’s identity, leading to a final haunting question.




Need I scream

even with this coat,

you refuse to see me.

my sweet alto



To excel, must I paint my face closer to the sun,

change my name so it rolls off your tongue

burn my hair and become undone


To join your ranks,

how much should I negotiate?

temper my boldness

soften my words

play the game to settle for half


How much should I erase

for you to call me doctor.