Shenandoah Volume 68, Number 1
Volume 68, Number 1 · Fall 2018


My Mother’s Lungs—began their dying sometime in the past. Doctors talked around tombstones. About the hedges near the tombstones, the font. The obituary writer said the obituary is the moment when someone becomes history. What if my mother never told me stories about the war or about her childhood? Does that mean none of it happened? No one sits next to my mother’s small rectangular tombstone, flush to the earth. The stone is meant to be read from above. What if I’m in space and can’t read it? Does that mean she didn’t die? She died at 7:07 a.m. PST. It is three hours earlier in Hawaii. Does that mean in Hawaii she hasn’t died yet? But the plane ride to Hawaii is five hours long. This time gap can never be overcome. The difference is called grieving.

Victoria Chang’s latest book of poems, OBIT, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2020. Her previous, Barbie Chang, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017. The Boss (McSweeney’s) won a PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, and a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches within Antioch’s MFA Program.