Tina Chang


Empress Dowager Boogies

Last night I found my face below
the water in my cupped hands.

The mask made of copper and bone
criss-crossing to make a smirk,

a false glamour, a plated glaze.
I unwound myself from the heavy

machinery of my body's burden.
The lute, the light, chime.

I'll get up and partner myself
with music, the purple moon

peeling itself like a plum.
Men stand in a circle and

they will ask and ask again.
I want to pick the thick bud,

to lose myself in the body's posture
bending in or away, to let

Origin & Ash

Powder rises
from a compact, platters full of peppermints,
a bowl of sour pudding.
A cup of milk before me tastes of melted almonds.

It is the story of the eve of my beginning. Gifts for me:

boxes of poppies, pocket knife,
an elaborate necklace
made of ladybugs.

My skirt rushing north

There is something round and toothless
about my dolls.

They have no faith. Their mouths, young muscle
to cut me down.
Their pupils, miniature bruises.

I hear the cries of horses, long faces famished,

The Idea of Revelation

It wasn't holy so let us not praise gods.
Let us not look to them for bread,
nor the cup that changed water to wine.

Let us look to the bend of the road
that reaches. A silver blur across
the skyline, woman standing on the farm.

In her grasp, the shine that is seed,
that is beginning. She will work
the earth, bounty in the vault

of cosmos above her, heat
lightning that lassoes in its manic
current. Man never existed