The Lonely Humans

Jennifer Chang

About solitude, I don’t need proof
it’s lost. Outside, the rain practices
loss, is losing to infinitude. Now there’s
a river the city can’t contain, rushing
against the wishes of infrastructure.
I know these streets, and then I don’t.
I carry my child with the current,
and we are the rain, the falling song
and the song of rain. Have I ever felt
happier. Felt the human wrongness
of crossing human streets, cars
stalling on waterlogged curbs.

I had thought words could make
new oceans, my thoughts tilting
above all like a lighthouse. Such
sovereignty, bearing a light
neither wave nor sail could regard,
my goddamn power ablaze
in the peerless dark. Bicycles going
nowhere. The noise of strangers
soundless in so much rain. To survive
what must perish: if we want,
want not as water wants, to flood
and to fathom us, our perishing.

Jennifer Chang is the author of Some Say the Lark, which received the 2018 William Carlos Williams Award. She is the poetry editor of New England Review and teaches at the University of Texas in Austin.
Originally published:
September 20, 2021

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