Skip to content

Log Out



This black trapezoid isn’t named death or murder
or what a lover promises in the dark. Agnes named
it Homage to Life. Near the end of her life, Agnes
lived in an assisted living facility. Everything
violent in the world can be made beautiful with
language. Someone passes, departs, or succumbs.
This is called advertising. The grids are finally
gone. Even while at the facility, Agnes drove to
her art studio each day to work. I think about the
people who bathed her, who cut up her food into
trapezoids. I wonder when she stopped painting
and if she knew. I have a feeling the shape of her last
breath was no longer a rectangle. I have a feeling
her last word was in the shape of sovereignty. Every
poem is trying to be the last free words on earth.




Victoria Chang’s recent books include The Trees Witness Everything (Copper Canyon) and Dear Memory (Milkweed). Obit (Copper Canyon) was named a New York Times Notable Book, a Time Must-Read Book, and received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and PEN/Voelcker Award.




Image depends on its subscribers and supporters. Join the conversation and make a contribution today.

+ Click here to make a donation.

+ Click here to subscribe to Image.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Receive ImageUpdate, our free weekly newsletter featuring the best from Image and the world of arts & faith

* indicates required