Victoria Chang
Gratitude, 2001

The red strip is not a tongue or fire. I try to imagine it without


the white strip above it. Or the green blocks. What is the red strip without anything else? Agnes said suffering is necessary for freedom from suffering. Maybe the yellow strips are suffering. See how far away they are? Always distant but always there. Or maybe they are language, in how we can


still see the yellow on the periphery when we look at the red in the middle. I want to pull the yellow closer but maybe I


should push it away. What am I outside of language? Is this the solitude Agnes spoke of—standing in an auditorium without a microphone or an audience, at a podium reading wind. And where the skin that has been wound tightly around me my whole life, is also the thing that I’ve been


writing on. To think, everyone will write one final word.







Found In Volume 51, No. 05
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  • Victoria Chang
Victoria Chang
About the Author

Victoria Chang’s new book of poetry, The Trees Witness Everything was published by Copper Canyon Press and Corsair Books in the U.K. in 2022. Her nonfiction book, Dear Memory (Milkweed Editions), was published in 2021. OBIT (Copper Canyon Press, 2020)her most recent poetry book, was named a New York Times Notable Book, Time Must-Read Book, and received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry, and the PEN/Voelcker Award. It was also longlisted for a National Book Award and named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Griffin International Poetry Prize. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is Acting Program Chair and Faculty member within Antioch’s low-residency MFA Program.