Caretakers—died in 2009, 2010, 2011,
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,
one after another. One didn’t show up
because her husband was arrested.
Most others watched the clock. Time
breaks for the living eventually and we
can walk out of doors. The handle of
time’s door is hot for the dying. What
use is a door if you can’t exit? A door
that can’t be opened is called a wall.
On the other side, glass can bloom. My
father is on the other side of the wall.
Tomatoes are ripening on the other
side. I can see them through the
window that also can’t be opened. A
window that can’t be opened is just a
see-through wall. Sometimes we’re on
the inside such as on a plane. Most of
the time, we’re on the outside looking
in such as doggie daycare. I don’t know
if the tomatoes are the new form of his
language or if they’re simply for eating.
I can’t ask him because on the other
side, there are no words. All I can do is
stare at the nameless bursting
tomatoes and know they have to be
Copyright © 2018 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in Poetry. Used with the permission of the poet.
Victoria Chang is the author of Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017). She will be the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor in May 2019, and she lives in Southern California.
Date Published: 2018-07-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/obit-caretakers