Mae Keyson McAuley



It was by chance that I was teaching at a University Hospital in China,
where Chen was being held for killing his father with a knife
meant to fillet the carp languishing in the kitchen sink.
I was immediately drawn into the tragic drama of an oedipal complex.

I met Chen on the day he was interviewed by the Director.
He was thin, 16 years old,
seated erect on a green metal chair.

The room was crowded with men in white lab coats,
their faces obscured in a nauseating fog of cigarette smoke.
For two hours Chen answered questions thoughtfully, clearly.
I listened to his mythic account—
a rich father, high-ranking official
disgraced by his “stupid” son’s school performance,
a weeping mother unable to protect herself or the boy
from the father’s alcoholic rages, burning shame.


Something happens that cannot be undone.

Dr. Mae McAuley is clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and a retired professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. A world traveler with her husband, Dr. George McAuley, a noted psychiatrist, her poetry often concerns issues around the subjects of human rights, social justice and poverty in a straightforward narrative that is easily accessible. Her passion equals her talent.

(author retains copyright)