Published on Academy of American Poets (

OBIT [Music]

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.


Victoria Chang

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: 2017-11-01

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