Christine Chia

Christine ChiaChristine Chia is the author of The Law of Second Marriages (Math Paper Press, 2011 and 2014) and a sequel, The Separation: a history (Ethos Books, forthcoming). She contributed poetry to Prairie Schooner and is currently a poetry MFA student at The New School. 




I focus my eyes on the fan
above my head
while the two nurses

wipe me down
like a table,

the cloth barely catching
on my body.

They turn me halfway, unsteadily,
to wipe the other side; I’m still a heavy man;

my thick bones
now blooming
through my flesh.



The woman trying to spoon
the goodness of Essence of Chicken
into my desiccated hulk

is not my wife
but my mistress.

The nurses think she’s my wife,
she comes so often;
they’ve never seen my wife;

they may turn her away
if she comes.



So this is it. I’m finally

My chest heaves in breaths
as shallow as my hopes.

Sometimes I hallucinate
she’s here,

her beautiful black hair

fanning across the white blanket
as her shoulders shudder

and I pat her penitent head.

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