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  • Second Thoughts on a Winter Afternoon
  • Chen Chen (bio)

Your mother is sick & all I can think of is how sick’salso a word for cool, like ill, though maybe ill

is becoming outdated, & sick too, & actually it’s a lieI can only think of that, I can also think of my mother,

how your mother’s pancreatic cancer doesn’t soundas pretty as the problem my mother has with her heart,

heartbeat, & I can even think my mother has it tougher,though it isn’t cancer, & of course I’d think that, she’s mom,

mommy, though of course this woman is mom, mommyto you, & mommy is very sick, & actually I hate how words

get outdated or we outgrow them, & think you do, too,saying things like poochie & good gravy, & maybe that’s why I

call you sweetie pie & you call me sweet baby, & how can wemake things stay? how can I, when my brain is all wind, drift—

while you’re on the phone with thoughtful relatives, I try tosit, think nothing, but then notice dust swirling in a beam

of bright, so think, as I’ve thought since mom once told me,that the light made the dust rise, dance, beautiful—

when on second thought, I can see the dust was just there,just dirt, & the light only made it visible. [End Page 588]

Chen Chen

chen chen is the author of two chapbooks, Set the Garden on Fire and Kissing the Sphinx (forthcoming from Two of Cups Press, 2016). His work has appeared in Poetry, Narrative, Crab Orchard Review, and The Best American Poetry 2015, among other places. A Kundiman Fellow and a 2015 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, Chen is currently a PhD candidate in English & Creative Writing at Texas Tech University.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2330-0485
Print ISSN
0025-4878
Pages
p. 588
Launched on MUSE
2015-12-06
Open Access
No
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