National Poetry Month Day 2: Victoria Chang

By

 

 

 

                                                Body—is dying a slow constant death.

                                                When my sister used to visit, my father

                                                often told her she looked fat.  I

                                                rummage through my purse for my

                                                lunch, 15 cashews.  A fat body is dying

                                                in the same way a thin body is.  Both

                                                aspire toward the earth while the mind

                                                disagrees.  I wrestle with language in

                                                the same way I wrestle with my body.  I

                                                eat language so I can find the right

                                                words and am now overweight.

                                                Sometimes I confuse being tired for

                                                being hungry.  Sometimes I confuse

                                                being hungry for being alive.  Now

                                                when I visit my father at the facility, we

                                                talk about his weight while he is sitting

                                                there, unable to understand. He looks

                                                fatter, I say. Look at his stomach, my

                                                sister says.  And then we laugh, as loud

                                                and as hard as we can, until we are

                                                crying.

***

Photograph of Victoria Chang by Margaret Molloy.


Victoria Chang’s poetry books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. Her children’s picture book, Is Mommy?, was illustrated by Marla Frazee and published by Beach Lane Books/S&S. It was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her middle grade novel, Love, Love was published by Sterling Publishing. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a Katherine Min MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the Program Chair of Antioch’s Low-Residency MFA Program. She also serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board. More from this author →