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Obit

by Victoria Chang


Control—died on August 3, 2015, along with my mother.  Suddenly I was no longer in the middle of the earth.  Suddenly I could change the angle of the liquid pen so that the rocket went the other way.  And all the children stopped crying.  My sister set up the appointment with the neurologist and he tested my father.  What is your name?  My father said, what what the system is…what, as he reached into his wallet and gave the doctor his credit card.  His finger angrily pointing at me.  We left with prescriptions for my father in my hands: antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills. My mother hadn’t thought to medicate him.  So much depends on the questions we ask.  How is he feeling and how are you feeling is the difference between life and death.  I held onto the small white paper as it waved slowly in the wind like a surrender flag.  That day dusk didn’t arrive.  I went into it.

 

Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems is Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, forthcoming 2017). The third, The Boss (McSweeney’s, 2013), won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Her other books are Salvinia Molesta (University of Georgia Press, 2008) and Circle (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005)She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. (8/2017)


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