This Corner of the Western World

By Jennifer Chang Jennifer Chang
Dark thing,
make a myth of yourself:

all women turn into lilacs,

all men grow sick of their errant scent.
You could learn

to build a window, to change flesh
into isinglass, nothing

but a brittle river, a love of bone.

You could snap like a branch—No,

this way, he says, and the fence
releases the forest,

and every blue insect finds an inch of skin.
He loves low voices, diffidence

on the invented trail,

the stones you fuck him on. Yes
to sweat’s souvenir, yes to his fist

in your hair, you bite

because you can. Silence
rides the back of your throat,

his tongue, your name.

Jennifer Chang, “This Corner of the Western World” from The History of Anonymity. Copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Chang. Reprinted by permission of The University of Georgia Press.

Source: The History of Anonymity (University of Georgia Press, 2008)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Jennifer Chang

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, The Body, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Jennifer  Chang

Biography

Poet and scholar Jennifer Chang was born in New Jersey. She is a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia, where she is a PhD candidate.
 
Chang’s lyrical poems often explore the shifting boundaries between the outer world and the self. Chang’s debut poetry collection, The History of Anonymity (2008), was selected for the Virginia Quarterly Review’s Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Shenandoah/ Glasgow Prize for . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, The Body, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.