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By Victoria Chang

I once was a child am a child am someone's child
            not my mother's not my father's the boss
      gave us special treatment treatment for something
                  special a lollipop or a sticker glitter from the

toy box the better we did the better the plastic prize made
            in China one year everyone got a spinning top
      one year everyone got a tap on their shoulders
                  one year everyone was fired everyone

fired but me one year we all lost our words one year
            my father lost his words to a stroke
      a stroke of bad luck stuck his words
                  used to be so worldly his words fired

him let him go without notice can they do that
            can she do that yes she can in this land she can
      once we sang songs around a piano this land is your land
                  this land is my land in this land someone always

owns the land in this land someone who owns
            the land owns the buildings on the land owns
      the people in the buildings unless an earthquake
                  sucks the land in like a long noodle

Victoria Chang, "I Once Was a Child" from The Boss. Copyright © 2013 by Victoria Chang.  Reprinted by permission of McSweeney’s Publishing.

Source: The Boss (McSweeney's Publishing, 2013)

  • Activities
  • Living

Poet Bio

Victoria Chang
Victoria Chang’s most recent book is Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief (Milkweed Editions, 2021). She is a core faculty member at Antioch University’s Low-Residency MFA Program and lives in Los Angeles, California. See More By This Poet

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