Christine Kwon πŸ”ˆ


When I show people old photos of myself
No one says You look the same

Woe is me


I do not do affirmations
I do not do yoga
I could

But I am not that kind of person


I made my undergraduates read
Mansfield Park

So we could hate Fanny together


I watch a fly
Whirling in the kitchen
As if aware of the abyss

The older I get
As if more spiritual too


Giving my best
As (George) Eliot would say
Diseased participation

I stand around at the party
Wondering why
No one likes writers


After dinner over digestifs
They talk about race (why not?)

Claudia Rankine wrote
About sitting around such a table
And wanting to flip it over
Wanting to be asked to leave

Otherwise why would they say such things


The older I get
The more I dislike white people
Especially in large groups

Things like this I must never say aloud


I wonder if I would have married a white person
If I were choosing now

My therapist waits with bated breath

The one thing I wouldn’t be able to stand
I say
Is someone like me

Badly paraphrasing Claudia Rankine


The spiritual idea that appeals to me
Is the Buddhist idea

That you are nothing regarding the nothing that is and the nothing that isn’t

Very (Wallace) Stevens but I also take it to mean

I am the beggar on the street
Begging please


Sometimes I feel as if I want to make a friend
But I don’t call the ones
I have and love

All I would say is


Rising naked from a white sheet
And trailing about the house
Scaring my cats

I decide I don’t want to be like Emily

And wait for my sister-in-law to publish
My treasure trove after I die

My sisters-in-law are the athletic type


Looking at an old photo of myself
I am surprised
I ever looked that way

Looking in the mirror
I am surprised
I ever looked that way

Is that what living is

Author Reading

About the Author

Christine Kwon is the 2022 winner of the Cowles Poetry Book Prize. Her first collection of poems, A Ribbon the Most Perfect Blue, is forthcoming from Southeast Missouri State University Press in Spring 2023. She lives in New Orleans.