How alone Barbie Chang’s mother
     must have felt doing

nothing but dying her mother actually
     stopped dying her hair

in January stopped being an actuary
     for her money she

must have known her time was limited
     did the diseased birch

tree know they were going to cut it down
     how quickly the air

around it filled in the space it does no
     good to know a mother’s

face who would have known that a 
     mother’s face could

be erased too at some point we are all
     eliminated from this

earth at some point most of us give birth
     at some point we lose

a mother at some point we are all
     disappointments who

can’t possibly care for others when
     our mothers die we

are all lost and there are no words for
     it some want to

name us as grieving others wrongly
     name us heroes

From Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press,