Wonder Cabinet / by Tina Chang

Tina Chang

I opened the silver pronged evening and translated

the great song of the Industrial Age. Each night

I hoped it would tell a different ending. Each time

it sang a song, sadder than I would have imagined.

 

I heard it, not only when I put all my perspectives

away on shelves, until the shelves caved in.

What was left: a room with windows that looked out

and I interpreted the vast room that spoke of longing,

 

but mostly air. I consoled myself, heavy lidded,

I revealed myself to no one. I ached by the staircase.

I opened the cupboards and the refrigerator to let the cold in.

I walked with my bare feet dragging my lone body,

 

cold as milk as I kissed the bottomless depth, an ear

tuned toward the series of bells, wind tied to a tree.

And then the wind stopped. If I break

the many windows will the sea roil and foam?

 

I am consumed with houses and what may propagate

inside them. What longing lives there, breeds

redemption? An open door to the wide plain is not a metaphor.

I swing it open each day. I leave the old house.

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About This Poem

“As I was writing ‘Wonder Cabinet’ I was concerned with space, confinement, and freedom. I wondered what we sought, in shelter, to contain/protect and what we sought to let go and release. The poem is an exploration of home, the memory of which is ultimately a construct of the mind.”

–Tina Chang

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Tina Chang’s second and most recent collection of poetry is Of Gods & Strangers(Four Way Books, 2011). Chang teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the poet laureate of Brooklyn.

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www.ademozbay.com

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