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Image by HNF BNH


the madrigal, volume iv

domestic tragedy

by jonathan chan, after Mikio Naruse's Repast

husband waits, leg bent, ashtray full,
arched over newspaper, stray grains
in an empty bowl. his tie lies limp,
shirt pressed by musk and sweat. his
gaze she shall never meet, clatter
of pots, forearm trembling from
floors wiped clean, lip curved in
blissful yearning, the wrinkles of
her eyes suggesting a dream, for
the old adage of youthful abandon,
head against mat, kimono worn
loosely, qualms swallowed by the
rush, the processions along a
Tokyo street. unprepared for
the quietude of an unharried
husband, foregone dream etched
in a letter, fluttering out of a train
shuttle’s window, the empty bliss
of a gaze unmet.

Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate student at Yale University. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore and educated in Cambridge, England. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Gwee Li Sui, Hannah Sullivan, and Ada Limón. More of his writing can be found at

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