Skip to content

Language—died, brilliant and beautiful

on August 1, 2009 at 2:46 p.m. Lover

of raising his hand, language lived

a full life of questioning. His favorite

was twisting what others said. His

favorite was to write the world in black

and white and then watch people try

and read the words in color. Letters

used to skim my father’s brain before

they let go. Now his words are blind.

Are pleated. Are the dispatcher, the

dispatches, and the receiver. When

my mother was dying, I made everyone

stand around the bed for what would

be the last group photo. Some of us

even smiled. Because dying lasts

forever until it stops. Someone said,

Take a few. Someone said, Say

cheese. Someone said, Thank you.

Language fails us. In the way that

breaking an arm means an arm’s bone

can break but the arm itself can’t break

off unless sawed or cut. My mother

couldn’t speak but her eyes were the

only ones that were wide open.

Language (from Obit)

Victoria Chang


More from
Poem of the Week

Mira Rosenthal

Creoles, Mestizos

translated from the Polish written by
Tomasz Rozycki
Michael Palmer

So