Christine H. Chen


The nurses gather around Ah Ma who’s floating inside the green gown, tubed to beeping machines, getting her blood drawn from her difficult to find vein, and giving praise, good job to the nurse who says, aww your mom is so cute to the daughter who’s remembering Ah Ma’s slap on her face when she missed a spot of dust on the windowsill, you’re sloppy, you’re dumb, when she brought home a less than perfect score in a math exam, Ma’s clapping and cruel laughs after a goose bit her butt, so when the nurses announce, we’re wheeling your mom in, wanna give her a hug, her words shoot out, no, we’re not touchy people, and she crosses her arms until after the surgery, when she sees Ah Ma’s swollen mouth that’s never kissed her­, Ma’s hand limp and begging, she takes the cup and the straw, leans close to her mother’s face, here’s some water.


Christine H. Chen was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Madagascar before settling in Boston where she worked as a research chemist. Her fiction has been published in Pinch, CRAFT Literary, Hobart, SmokeLong Quarterly, Atticus Review, The Ekphrastic Review, New Flash Fiction Review, and other journals. She is a recipient of the 2022 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship and the co-translator from French of the novel My Lemon Tree (Spuyten Duyvil, forthcoming late 2023). Her publications can be found at