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.