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.
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.