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About this poet

Jennifer Chang received a BA from the University of Chicago in 1998, an MFA from the University of Virginia in 2002, and a PhD in English from the University of Virginia in 2017. She is the author of Some Say the Lark (Alice James Books, 2017) and The History of Anonymity (University of Georgia Press, 2008). She currently serves as an assistant professor at George Washington University and lives in Washington, D.C.

On Emotion

It was inside, gathering heat in her blood, slowly killing her.
 
No one said a word.
 
And this grew her fury further, grieved her immeasurably.
 
What did it look like.
 
A knot, or a slag of granite.
 
I imagined another brother, unborn for he was only a knot.
 
How my granite brother would never leave her.
 
I grew up in her abject sadness, which soon became our speaking.
 
And then I left.
 
Smaller, smaller, he was her favorite.
 
Jays nag the first light.
 
And now I am awake before dawn hoping today is a day when I won’t have to say anything.
 
And then I.
 
To me, it was unintelligible.
 
I could see through her skin, see my brother not growing inside her.
 
Would he ever come outside.
 
The raging jays, the squawking catastrophe.
 
I wanted to know.
 
What is the difference between a son and a daughter,  I wanted to know.
 
That is private.
 
That was her answer.
 

From Some Say the Lark (Alice James Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Jennifer Chang. Used with permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Alice James Books, www.alicejamesbooks.org.

From Some Say the Lark (Alice James Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Jennifer Chang. Used with permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Alice James Books, www.alicejamesbooks.org.

Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang is the author of Some Say the Lark (Alice James Books, 2017). She lives in Washington, D.C.

by this poet

poem

She’s in the desert
releasing the ashes of her father,
the ashes of her child,
or the ashes of the world. She is not

what she observes. The rare spinystar.
It does not belong to her. Bright needle threading
a cloud through the sky. There’s sun enough,
there’s afterlife. Her own

poem
Dark matter, are you 
sparkless 

for lack of knowing
better? The room 

you've spun is distant
and indivisible—

a flickering lapsarian,
you satisfy no mute

progress but 
collapse, spiral, winded

by unwinding. Dear 
enigma kid, dear psychic

soft spot, I write you
from under eight spastic 

lights, each
poem
Something in the field is
working away. Root-noise.
Twig-noise. Plant
of weak chlorophyll, no
name for it. Something
in the field has mastered
distance by living too close
to fences. Yellow fruit, has it
pit or seeds? Stalk of wither. Grass-
noise fighting weed-noise. Dirt
and chant. Something in the
field.