Travis Chi Wing Lau


At first flush,
I could not tell if it was

a fever or the heat death of the world,
so I confided in you

about my burning
only to learn I was a nuisance,

a worm your ear never craved but
came to nurse

because you pity little things
like a voice that carries

its hurt modestly, that covers up its
shame with its own hands.

But those hands cannot cover what
exceeds them—

this body now put in its place
but teeming with other burnings

that beg your pardon
as much as your attention

(a care that cannot be


Travis Chi Wing Lau (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor of English at Kenyon College. His research and teaching focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. Alongside his scholarship, Lau frequently writes for venues of public scholarship like Synapsis: A Journal of Health Humanities, Public Books, Lapham’s Quarterly, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. His poetry has appeared in Wordgathering, Glass, South Carolina Review, Foglifter, and Hypertext, as well as in three chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press, 2019), Paring (Finishing Line Press, 2020), and Vagaries (Fork Tine Press, 2022).