mary jean chan
I accept the way you once existed
in the space between my mother’s
lips, that you made her say hurtful
things, that you dread my wedding
day, that only man and wife display
burnished surnames on family trees,
that you will never understand how
your mistaken grief wrung my heart
in those eternal hours between dusk
and daybreak, that pain is fierce and
often flares through the body’s dark
secret passages. I accept this fragile
truce, this slow, stubborn effort at
peace after the long decade of war.
MARY JEAN CHAN is the author of Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019) and Faber USA (2020). Flèche won the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted in 2020 for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. Chan is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University and lives in Oxford.
JO MORRIS DIXON's poetry has been published in Oxford Poetry, The Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, Ambit Magazine and The Signal House Edition. Her debut pamphlet I told you everything is out with Verve Poetry Press (October 2021). As an aspiring artist, her work can be found on Instagram @jmd_paints.
(Image Credit: Counting to Ten, Jo Morris Dixon, by kind permission of the artist.)