Weekly Poem: ‘The Winter’s Wife’

BY Tom LeGro  January 10, 2011 at 2:02 PM EST

By Jennifer Chang

It will be years before I understand
failure. The sun’s last rage
in the winter trees. My yard
is a failure of field. It is small
and poorly tended. Years before
this hard kernel of worry
rises to a truer height, I can learn
to make shade with my palms,
but I cannot learn to unmoor my want.
I want wild roots to prosper
an invention of blooms, each unknown
to every wise gardener. If I could be
a color. If I could be a question
of tender regard. I know crabgrass
and thistle. I know one algorithm:
it has nothing to do with repetition
or rhythm. It is the route from number
to number (less to more, more
to less), a map drawn by proof
not faith. Unlike twilight, I do not
conclude with darkness. I conclude.

 

Jennifer ChangJennifer Chang is the author of “The History of Anonymity” (Georgia, 2008). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Poetry and A Public Space. A Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Virginia, she co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and promotion of Asian American poetry. She is writing a second book of poems titled “Some Say the Lark.”