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 latest books include Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief (Milkweed Editions, 2021) and the poetry collection The Trees Witness Everything (Copper Canyon Press, forthcoming 2022). Her collection OBIT (Copper Canyon Press, 2020) received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry, and the PEN/Voelcker Award, and was longlisted for the National Book Award and named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Griffin International Poetry Prize. Her previous books of poems include the books of poems: Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, forthcoming 2017); The Boss (McSweeney’s, 2013), winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award; Salvinia Molesta (University of Georgia Press, 2008), and Circle (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005). A 2017 Guggenheim Fellow, Chang holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and an MBA from the Stanford School of Business. She is a core faculty member in Antioch University’s low-residency MFA Program. She lives in Los Angeles. She also writes children’s books. You can find her at www.victoriachangpoet.com. (updated 4/2022)