Victoria Chang’s most recent book is OBIT, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2020. OBIT received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize, the PEN Voelcker Award in Poetry, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Book Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize. Chang’s other poetry books are Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. She lives in Los Angeles.
We were, you might say, dangling over the buried city.
If this villa had a cellar, its floor would be the ceiling
—tap it—to another, in shallow strata, but irreality
in this case went all the way down, then back up, reeling
(so to speak) in the accoutrements of a lost beau monde.
Who was I there? A guest, a voyeur, a vagabond.
I opened with them arguing about the meaning of Gatsby because of course they’re not arguing about literature at all. Literature is a cover. Once a marriage passes the point where two people can sit alone in a room with no things—the marriage is over. At least in my experience.