“Afterwards” by Joanna Chen


The policeman stands
in our kitchen, shifting
from one leg to another.
Forensics are on their way,

 

he apologizes, knowing
he is a large man in a small room.
He refuses a chair, refuses
coffee, a slice of cake left over

 

from the week before. He is sorry
he says for my loss, sorry
he is on duty this fine Saturday.
Another policeman arrives, also

 

sorry for our loss, although she
is still here, lying in the bed,
the morphine slowly dripping
through the tube because we

 

did not turn it off. And
a statement must be made
in the silence of that morning
and I supply the words although

 

he will write them down. What
she died of does not matter
now. This is not a story.
This is what happened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joanna Chen is a poet and literary translator. Her poems, essays and translations have appeared in Poet Lore, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Cactus Heart, and The Bakery, among others. She recently appeared on Transatlantic Poetry and is guest poetry editor of The Ilanot Reviewwww.joannachen.com