Katherine Howard Rehearses
M. Cynthia Cheung | Poetry
“Katherine Howard . . . proved to have been not of pure and honest living . . . an
unchaste woman . . . [therefore] guilty of high treason.”
—Bill of attainder passed against the fifth queen of Henry VIII, 11 February 1542
I am seventeen this year, and what
do I count as my own?
Last week the girls and I stayed up late, talking
trends: skinny versus boy-
friend, pre-med versus law. God
or no God. My girls
said, It’s only a note. Tell him
how you really feel. But I worry
that if I say love, I might mean
happiness, and how would I ever
go back? Already it’s hard
to imagine what I’ll be in a year.
Sometimes I take my silver
scissors and cut I
was here into the trees.
When I fall asleep, everything looks
backwards in the dream-mirror—
my neck thinner, my throat
a pink pulse. I, a body
becoming its parts, open
and close my unlucky holes.
M. Cynthia Cheung is a physician whose writing can be found in The Baltimore Review, RHINO, Salamander, SWWIM, Tupelo Quarterly and others. Currently, she serves as a judge for Baylor College of Medicine’s annual Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Awards. Find out more at www.mcynthiacheung.com.