The daffodils can go fuck themselves.
I’m tired of their crowds, yellow rantings
about the spastic sun that shines and shines
and shines. How are they any different
from me? I, too, have a big messy head
on a fragile stalk. I spin with the wind.
I flower and don’t apologize. There’s nothing
funny about good weather. Oh, spring again,
the critics nod. They know the old joy,
that wakeful quotidian, the dark plot
of future growing things, each one
labeled Narcissus nobilis or Jennifer Chang.
If I died falling from a helicopter, then
this would be an important poem. Then
the ex-boyfriends would swim to shore
declaiming their knowledge of my bulbous
youth. O, Flower, one said, why aren’t you
meat? But I won’t be another bashful shank.
The tulips have their nervous joie-de-vivre,
the lilacs their taunt. Fractious petals, stop
interrupting me with your boring beauty.
All the boys are in the field gnawing raw
bones of ambition and calling it ardor. Whothe hell are they? This is a poem about war.
Used by permission.
Photo by Evan Rhodes.
Jennifer Chang is the author of The History of Anonymity. Poems from a new manuscript have appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, Kenyon Review, The Nation, Poetry, A Public Space, The Rumpus, and have been featured on NPR's Morning Edition and the arts and culture blogs of the Chronicle of Higher Education and PBS NewsHour. She also writes about poetry for the Los Angeles Review of Books and is completing a critical study on race, pastoral, and American modernist poetics. She co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman and is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at George Washington University. She lives in DC with her husband and son.
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