Museum For Women Who Did Not Appear
“There is a difference between a choice and a wish. We were never asked what we wished for.”
These women were not forced into prostitution
Nor did they go willingly to support one side in a war
Nor did they stand in the spotlight and receive the applause of their audience
like the entertainment troupes that raised the morale of the soldiers.
They came and went silently.
Sudden death in shelling was an ever-present danger on the front.
No one knew them when they were alive and when they died.
They did not appear in military records.
They faced the same hardships, lived and died, like everyone else on Kinmen.—
Karissa Chen's fiction and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Gulf Coast, PEN America, Guernica, and Longreads. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan in 2015-16 and received a 2019 Fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, and is a proud Fellow of both Kundiman and VONA/Voices. She currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief at Hyphen, Fiction Editor at the Rumpus, and a Contributing Fiction Editor at Catapult. She is working on a novel.
More by this author
I wanted to know more about my fertility because I thought it might help me prepare for a someday I wasn’t willing to give up on.
The desire to be a mother is now something that lingers inside of me, an omnipresent hunger.
More in this series
Alfonzo looked aghast, like they were the two most naïve immigrants in the history of New York. “ICE is preparing to break through that door with guns and night vision goggles, maybe even dogs, and you’re worried about the breeze?”