In the Middle of Dinner

By Chris Abani b. 1967 Chris Abani
my mother put down her knife and fork,
pulled her wedding ring from its groove,
placing it contemplatively on her middle
finger. So natural was the move,
so tender, I almost didn’t notice.
Five years, she said, five years, once a week,
I wrote a letter to your father. And waited
until time was like ash on my tongue.
Not one letter back, not a single note.
She sighed, smiling, the weight gone. This
prime rib is really tender, isn’t it? she asked.

Chris Abani, “In the Middle of Dinner” from Dog Woman. Copyright © 2004 by Chris Abani. Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.

Source: Dog Woman (Red Hen Press, 2004)

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Poet Chris Abani b. 1967

POET’S REGION Africa

Subjects Living, Separation & Divorce, Relationships, Men & Women, Home Life, Family & Ancestors

 Chris  Abani

Biography

Chris Abani is part of a new generation of Nigerian writers working to convey to an English-speaking audience the experience of those born and raised in that troubled African nation. Abani began writing at a very young age and published his first novel, Masters of the Board, while still a teenager. The plot of the novel, a political thriller, proved uncomfortably close to actual events; it mirrored a coup that was carried out in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Separation & Divorce, Relationships, Men & Women, Home Life, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION Africa

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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