Published on Academy of American Poets (

On Emotion

It was inside, gathering heat in her blood, slowly killing her.
No one said a word.
And this grew her fury further, grieved her immeasurably.
What did it look like.
A knot, or a slag of granite.
I imagined another brother, unborn for he was only a knot.
How my granite brother would never leave her.
I grew up in her abject sadness, which soon became our speaking.
And then I left.
Smaller, smaller, he was her favorite.
Jays nag the first light.
And now I am awake before dawn hoping today is a day when I won’t have to say anything.
And then I.
To me, it was unintelligible.
I could see through her skin, see my brother not growing inside her.
Would he ever come outside.
The raging jays, the squawking catastrophe.
I wanted to know.
What is the difference between a son and a daughter,  I wanted to know.
That is private.
That was her answer.


From Some Say the Lark (Alice James Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Jennifer Chang. Used with permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Alice James Books,


Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang is the author of Some Say the Lark (Alice James Books, 2017). She lives in Washington, D.C.

Date Published: 2017-10-02

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