Music—died on August 7, 2015. I made
a video with old pictures and music for
the funeral. I picked Hallelujah in
acapella. Because they weren’t really
singing, but actually crying. When my
children came into the room, I
pretended I was writing. Instead I
looked at my mother’s old photos. The
fabric patterns on all her shirts. The
way she held her hands together at the
front of her body. In each picture, the
small brown purse that now sits under
my desk. At the funeral, my brother-in-
law kept turning the music down.
When he wasn’t looking, I turned the
music up. Because I wanted these
people to feel what I felt. When I
wasn’t looking, he turned it down
again. At the end of the day, someone
took the monitor and speakers away.
But the music was still there. This was
my first understanding of grief.
Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in New England Review. Used with the permission of the poet.