Dreaming, I Was Complicit

You stood over
my shoulder, goading
me, one hand cupped
on my waist, as I
decided who would die

with each new shoebox
opened, some clue
to their identities inside.
A bird’s nest, ashes,
small keys the size
and crouch of regurgitated
mouse skeletons.
What ordinary objects
stood for whole lives.

The last box was fit
for children’s shoes,
with a purple, incidental
print on the outside.
I opened the top,
relieved to find
my grandmother’s
autumn-colored flats.

she must be shuffling
barefoot inside
her fading isolation,
searching for an end.

Liz Chang published her first book of poetry Provenance with Book-Arts Press. Her work has been included in several anthologies and literary magazines. She received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches English at a few area community colleges. She translates French and Spanish and lives with her boyfriend and their two cats en les environs of Philadelphia.

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