A Poem by Victoria Chang, from Obit

September 21, 2020  By Victoria Chang

Guilt—never died on August 3, 2017. I
hired a hit man to use a missile. But
guilt still lies in a heap on my chest
at night like a pile of frozen pigeons.
Last month, my father fell again and I
walked through him for the third time.
They told me he was trying to run away
and tripped. Another brain bleed. We
moved him upstairs to memory care,
as if strangers could somehow care
for his memory. When I visited, no
one could find him. We opened one
door after another, the square-tipped
smells of eachperson rushed out. We
found him in someone else’s bed, hair
buzzing. He handed me his glasses
and said, Here’s  my  future.   And all
I could think was, What would my
dead mother do?
I went from room to
room looking for her. All I found were
dismembered shadows and bodies
in C shapes, heads emptied out. I
could hear all of the hearts beating
in the dark. The problem was they
all sounded the same. My own heart
slowed. Guilt had turned into a heart
too, mixed in the pile, breeding with all
the other hearts.


Victoria Chang, Obit

From OBIT by Victoria Chang. 2020. Used with the permission from Copper Canyon Press.

Victoria Chang
Victoria Chang
Victoria Chang’s 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/Simon & Schuster. It was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her middle grade novel, Love Love will be published by Sterling Publishing in 2020. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the program chair of Antioch’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

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