It was the absent one that kept her awake at night
while the others slept peacefully,
tucked up in their beds after another story,
another sip of water, another kiss dropped
on their little heads. Years later,
it is the absent one that enters her dreams
uninvited, calling voicelessly from another room,
painting clumsily over the darkness with more
darkness, unformed hands stretching out
beyond her grasp.
Joanna Chen‘s poetry, essays and literary translations have been published most recently by Guernica, Narratively, Poetry International, Asymptote, Poet Lore and Mantis, among others. Less Like a Dove was published by Shearsman Books in 2016. She writes a column for The Los Angeles Review of Books Blog. Read more at www.joannachen.com.