Edward Hopper Study: Hotel Room

By Victoria Chang b. 1970 Victoria Chang
While the man is away   
telling his wife   
about the red-corseted woman,   
the woman waits   
on the queen-sized bed.   
You'd expect her quiet   
in the fist of a copper   
statue. Half her face,   
a shade of golden meringue,   
the other half, the dark   
of cattails. Her mouth even—   
too straight, as if she doubted   
her made decision, the way   
women do. In her hands,   
a yellow letter creased,   
like her hunched back.   
Her dress limp on a green chair.   
In front, a man's satchel   
and briefcase. On a dresser,   
a hat with a ceylon   
feather. That is all   
the artist left us with,   
knowing we would turn   
the woman's stone into ours,   
a thirst for the self   
in everything—even   
in the sweet chinks   
of mandarin.

Source: Poetry (September 2004).


Writer and editor Victoria Chang earned a BA in Asian studies from the University of Michigan, an MA in Asian studies from Harvard University, an MBA from Stanford University, and an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Her collections of poetry include Circle (2005), winner of the Crab Orchard Review Award Series in Poetry; Salvinia Molesta (2008); and The Boss (2013). Her poems have been published in the Kenyon . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Marriage & Companionship, Painting & Sculpture, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Men & Women


Poetic Terms Free Verse, Simile, Ekphrasis

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

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.