_____
I was locked into a single seed, my future fathoming.
I was matter underwater and a sheer hoping,
when I latched to earth, a first withered bloom.
A sonic wonder, I sang about the future.
I was master of the oxen pulling me toward dawn,
an existence first in death, a state of stillness
before beginning, a middle earth of rain.
I wore many masks until the right one fit.
Then the storm passed and I was wakened by water.
Morality
I had stolen through the back door, eyed
two loaves of bread. In the life before this one,
I had seen the window, a greater reflection,
yeast in the tin rising fast. My wanting grew.
How does desire trump that? Perhaps desire
is what we know best when the heart
is listless but listening. I memorized my history
which was nothing short of gleaming disasters
repeated, just for me.
History
I fell into a patch of green which was earth's matter
and fell some more. I am a boy and found myself
between war and my own luck, startled myself
in goodness and in haste, made a fire and got to cooking.
Man: the most tender and incessant beast.
A flawed danger but no less beautiful. A prairie
where I walk for the first time, where I am the theory
of origin: my brain barks in the heat, my legs buckle
in the initial step, then a slow certainty, an engine
of progress. My ankles turn clockwise in the soil,
loosening root and worm, shaking free
from the tangle and what held me there.
Mambo Sun
I was never burned by anything that could touch me
and I sat in the imagined throne with spoonsful of red sugar
tasting the years ahead of me, wondering of the origin
of my mother. I think she is flame and quick step, glee
and ignition. I saw her hands once in a flash flood
pulling me awake, several claps and then I came alive
rising through the underbrush and cadence rumble,
then I breathed and found god's bone, cracked in pieces
in my throat and my own voice fused to answer back.
 
Copyright © 2012 by Tina Chang. Used with permission of the author.

Poems by This Author

Celestial by Tina Chang
When everything was accounted for
Duality by Tina Chang
Perhaps I hold people to impossible ideals
Evolution of Danger by Tina Chang
I'm the one in the back of the bar, drinking cachaça
Infinite and Plausible by Tina Chang
It is the smallest idea born in the interior will
The Future is an Animal by Tina Chang
In every kind of dream I am a black wolf
Wonder Cabinet by Tina Chang
I opened the silver pronged evening and translated


Further Reading

Poems About Birthdays
A Birthday
by Christina Rossetti
A Happy Birthday
by Ted Kooser
A Newborn Girl at Passover
by Nan Cohen
Crossroads
by Joyce Sutphen
Fifty-Three
by Eileen Myles
Infant Joy
by William Blake
Morning Song
by Sylvia Plath
On His Seventy-fifth Birthday
by Walter Savage Landor
Poem at Thirty
by Michael Ryan
Prayer for a Birthday
by Mark Wunderlich