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By Charles Rammelkamp
Written in the slender, right-justified form of newspaper columns, so familiar to readers of obituaries, these poems are no less lyrical for their journalistic form. Two events inform these poems. “My Father’s Frontal Lobe,” the first poem, begins:
My Father’s Frontal Lobe – died
unpeacefully of a stroke on June 24,
2009 at Scripps Memorial Hospital in
San Diego, California.
The second poem, “My Mother,” begins:
My Mother died unpeacefully on August 3, 2015 in her room at Walnut Village Assisted Living in Anaheim, California, of pulmonary fibrosis.
These two dates, June 24, 2009, and especially August 3, 2015, recur again and again as Chang writes the obituaries for what has been lost – “Victoria Chang” died June 24, 2009: “Because he did / not die but all of his words did.” In the first poem, “My Father’s Frontal Lobe,” she has written: