Six Poems by Victoria Chang

From The Trees Witness Everything

April 27, 2022  By Victoria Chang

Someone said, at first
we want romance, then for life
to be bearable,
at last, understandable.
I am frightened, now
that the trees look like question
marks, how the moon makes
strange noises but it’s daytime.
Bells have begun to notice me.

Today is circling,
history is transparent,
the future has no insides.

Rain Light
When the mothers leave,
what are we supposed to do?
I have rented light,
but all that’s left is a search-
light shining in the
wrong country. What happens to
those raindrops now that
someone has seen them?

Is silence a gift?
I can’t hear my bones shrinking,
the lemon turning yellow.
The flag is louder
than my memories. How I
wish time were a wooden wheel.

Another Year Come
Suddenly I am
free from everything but time.
Time started doubling.
I started dieting so
the gap between life
and death could remain an inch.
I try not to move,
crouch under the raspberry
bush and pull its bullets off.

Calling Late
The men used to call
at all hours, but what I miss
most are the late-night
talks, ones where I held the phone
so close, it pressed like a gun.


The Trees Witness Everything
Excerpted from The Trees Witness Everything by Victoria Chang, available via Copper Canyon Press.

Victoria Chang
Victoria Chang
Victoria Chang’s latest book of poetry is The Trees Witness Everything (Copper Canyon Press). Her nonfiction book, Dear Memory (Milkweed Editions), was published in 2021. OBIT (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), her prior book of poems, was named a New York Times Notable Book, a Time Must-Read Book, and received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry, and the PEN/Voelcker Award. It was also longlisted for a National Book Award and named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Griffin International Poetry Prize. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and lives in Los Angeles and is a faculty member within Antioch’s low-residency MFA Program and Acting Program Chair.

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