Aidan Chafe


Chance Encounter

If you should ever cross paths with a wounded poet
in the wild, keep walking. Avoid eye contact.
Don’t offer to help. The poet will only want to read
his wounded words to you from his wounded mind.
He will talk about the wounded world and how many
wounded people there are in it. He will implore you
to wake up and leave your ignorant cave behind.
Even if the poet looks as though he’s survived Dresden,
don’t offer him food or water. The wounded poet
will only be fueled by this comparison. He will
want to mine this victim state in order to write about
it later. He will tell you he hasn’t been taking his
antidepressants because they get in the way
of his writing, with the relationship he has
with his wounds. Of course the poet’s been going
to therapy. How do you think he’s been so in touch
with his wounds? At this point the wounded poet
may weep or wail to channel his inner wound.
The best thing you can do is promise
the wounded poet you’ll buy his book of wounds,
you’ll make an appearance at his wounded launch,
and then watch him whimper his way back
into the forest of his wounded mind.

Aidan Chafe is the author of two collections of poetry, Short Histories of Light and Gospel Drunk. He lives on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples (Vancouver, Canada).