OBIT [The Priest]

The Priest—died on August 3, 2015. As
he  died, he  cursed.   When  the  priest
first    started    coming,    he    left    a
watermark  on  the  door.     As  time
passed, my mother’s door was riddled
with bullets from his fist.    He started
sending  me  prayers  with  his  eyes.  I
didn’t want his prayers.  I had too many
selves  for  God  to save.   None  of  my
selves knew how to say sorry.  None of
my selves knew each other.  I wonder if
my  mother  took  God  in  towards  the
end?  The way she had once cared for
her  fifty  bonsai  plants  each  morning,
snipping      gently,      adjusting      tiny
sprinklers,  beckoning  them  with  her
breath.    The bonsai barely responded,
had never asked to be limited.  She said
the priest was weird,  would look at her
in a creepy way.  As if he knew she was
not  a  believer,  but  a  refugee.   When
she    arrived    in    this    country,    they
painted   over   her   skin.    Her   fungal
toes only looked like roots.

More by Victoria Chang

OBIT [Memory]

Memory—died August 3, 2015.  The
death was not sudden but slowly over a
decade.  I wonder if, when people die,
they  hear  a  bell.   Or  if  they  taste
something sweet, or if they feel a knife
cutting them in half, dragging through
the flesh like sheet cake.  The caretaker
who witnessed my mother’s death quit. 
She holds the memory and images and
now they are gone.  For the rest of her
life, the memories are hers.  She said
my mother couldn’t breathe, then took
her last breath 20 seconds later.  The
way I have imagined a kiss with many
men I have never kissed.  My memory
of  my  mother’s  death  can’t  be  a
memory but is an imagination, each
time the wind blows, leaves unfurl
a little differently.

Mr. Darcy

Then we are in the back seat of a car kissing
           not the light kind but one where our
    hands are on each other’s cheeks holding
                 each other’s heads as if they will fall

off why does so much love come at the beginning
           then disappear then once again at the moment
      before death why can’t the same kind exist
                  in between in the breaths in the

afternoon in the sitting room in a place of costumes
            little girls dress like princesses one pink one
      blue one yellow they wear plastic heels because
                 they still think they will never fall

Dear P.

Someone will        love you     many will      love

you         many will brother you   some of these

loves will        bother you   some   will      leave you

one might        haunt   you      hunt you in your

sleep        make you       weep the tearless kind of

weep the         kind of weep   that drowns your

organs     slowly    there are little oars  in your body      

little boats   grab onto them and row and        row

someone will tell you      no       but you won’t   know

he is    right until you have   already        wrung your  

own heart dry    your hands dripping knives    until

you have    already   reached your hands into       his       

body and put them through his        heart     love is

the only thing that       is not    an       argument