Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


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.

Credit


Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Chang. Originally published in New England Review. Used with the permission of the poet.

Author


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

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/obit-memory