Depression, the Sit-Com by Mark Brazaitis


Every week, the hero will try to kill himself
but fail in ever-more-comical ways:
by shooting his ear off;
by drinking poison that makes his face turn green
and gives him gas;
by jumping off the eighteenth story of a building
and into a truck-bed full of manure.
In earnest solidarity, people he knows well,
and people he barely knows,
will share with him their problems,
a series of inane calamities:
a cake over-baked,
a broken coffee cup—a favorite!—
a lost gerbil,
each punctuated by laughter
from a laugh track.
They will follow with their homemade remedies
to heal the horror in his head and heart:
“Jumping jacks—a hundred a day.”
“Bananas are soothing. They’ll help you sleep.”
“Underwater meditation. Guaranteed.”
His psychiatrist, with a beard and glasses
and the requisite gallows humor,
will dash off a prescription with a warning:
“This may work—but only after six weeks.
I wish patience came in a pill.”

There will be a second season.
It will be a darker comedy,
although everyone will wear white.


MARK BRAZAITIS is the author of seven books, including The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala, winner of the 1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award, The Incurables: Stories, winner of the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize, and The Other Language: Poems, winner of the 2008 ABZ First Book Poetry Contest.