Shelly Chang


Brilliance determines their order

a rainbow of clothes from wall to wall

neat rows and stacks

until the next customer comes

with a herd of children

who liberate chocolate bars

from their shiny foil wrappers

and spill rivers of blue skirts

down the narrow aisles.


Later, a guest comes to my house

bearing a rose

replete with thorns as if to guard

the sunset on the silky petals.

I marvel at my good fortune

his first visit

since the death of his only son.

As I set the flower in a vase

he tells me not to bother with the packet

full of life-extending powders

for when it fades, it fades




Shelly Chang lives in Oakland, California and works as a software engineer for Vector Software. She studied poetry at the Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York City.