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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, May 29, 2017.
About this Poem 

“This poem is a part of a series of epistolary poems that are in my  forthcoming book, Barbie Chang.  I wrote these to my children, knowing that despite the wisdom that comes with my own aging, they will still have to make all the same mistakes (more or less) that I have made, which is a scary thought.”
—Victoria Chang

Dear P.

Someone will        love you     many will      love

you         many will brother you   some of these

loves will        bother you   some   will      leave you

one might        haunt   you      hunt you in your

sleep        make you       weep the tearless kind of

weep the         kind of weep   that drowns your
   
organs     slowly    there are little oars  in your body      

little boats   grab onto them and row and        row

someone will tell you      no       but you won’t   know

he is    right until you have   already        wrung your  

own heart dry    your hands dripping knives    until

you have    already   reached your hands into       his       

body and put them through his        heart     love is

the only thing that       is not    an       argument

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 29, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 29, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang is the author of Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). She will be the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor in May 2019, and she lives in Southern California.

by this poet

poem

The Clock—died on June 24, 2009 and
it was untimely.  How many times my
father has failed the clock test.  Once I
heard a scientist with Alzheimer’s on
the radio, trying to figure out why he
could no longer draw a clock.  It had to
do with the superposition of three

poem
If you are     like me and can     only see the horizon
 
that unreachable     don’t know that want     sheds and
 
grows and     sheds and     grows     please don’t
 
keep trying               the outline     is fine find a closer
 
poem

Memory—died August 3, 2015.  The
death was not sudden but slowly over a
decade.  I wonder if, when people die,
they  hear  a  bell.   Or  if  they  taste
something sweet, or if they feel a knife
cutting them in half, dragging through
the flesh like sheet cake.  The caretaker
who