Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Chekhov’s Gun
November 18, 2020 Sze-Lorrain Fiona

Chekhov’s Gun
Atonement means nothing to a cook
who in this soap opera marries his daughter off to a rich
villain. Nineteenth century: feudalism.
The close-up pauses on an island.
I look up “feudalism” online.
I swear.
I doddle.
I clean up four bathtubs
like a madwoman, refuse eye contact,
even stop to breathe, losing track of my mind map and business.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, translator, editor, and zheng harpist.  Her latest poetry collection, Rain in Plural, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press in September 2020.  The author of three previous poetry collections, including The Ruined Elegance, also from Princeton, which was a finalist for the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, she has translated more than a dozen books of contemporary Chinese, French, and American poetry.  One of her recent translations, Ye Lijun’s My Mountain Country (World Poetry Books, 2019), was shortlisted for the 2020 Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry.  A 2019-20 Abigail R. Cohen Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination, she lives in Paris.