Creation Myth (excerpt)

Tina Chang


Beyond is a voice and it says:There is a car and the door is about to open.There is a voice and it answers:And destruction is pointed at the boy of history.The future is the shadow of a boy, arms raisedwhose eyes widen toward bloom as they stand:two bodies of struggle. The officer believesthe instrument's sermon, believes the gunis fueled when he shines it. Color the cloth violence.He buffs the bright cylinder from which the bulletwill emerge and points it toward a future intention.Color the cloth vengeance for it has no true name.Are justice and victory the same laurels?The world spins mindful of its past.I envision, now, my son rising, arms above him,like hosanna out of a car. See

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Tina Chang, Brooklyn Poet Laureate, is the author of Half-Lit Houses, Of Gods & Strangers, and most recently Hybrida (W.W. Norton, 2019) which was named A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by NPR, Lit Hub, The Millions, Oprah magazine, Publisher’s Weekly and a New York Times Book Review New & Noteworthy collection.

“I have loved Tina Chang, and her work, since long before either of us were published poets. In Hybrida’s poems of deep conscience and urgent compassion, I recognize her fearless imagination and searching intelligence. I also find a new sense of need. These poems are clear-eyed and unblinking―written to save lives.”
—Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Life on Mars

“‘When he was born, our mutual exhaustion was a hybrid sound,’ Tina Chang writes in this daring collection’s title poem. With inexhaustible technical and emotional dexterity, Chang mixes and remixes social and familial resonances; reconfigures forms, myths, and prophecies; and records the hybrid sounds of love. Hybrida is a mature, masterful collection by a poet who never fails to astonish.”
—Terrance Hayes, National Book Award–winning author of Lighthead and American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

“One of the most important books of poetry to come along in years... With equal parts hope and terror, and no self-delusion, this book summons the kind of love only the imagination can sustain; Chang writes to, and for [her son] Roman, praying that his pure being will transcend the millions of gazes that will try to define his life by his skin color.”
—Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR

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