Juliana Chang



in the absence of sesame oil


I am angry about the shampoo.
About the coat organizer where I put my purses
the one that hung unused over his door for months and months before me
and now after as well.
I am angry about the merged calendars
and about the money too—
we split the bill on kitchen essentials
and now I’m paying for his sesame oil consumption
for the next 3 years.
I am angry but not petty enough to ask
for my half of the bottle.
I am angry when I think of the room in Humboldt,
the one with a 48 hour cancellation policy:
the one we booked four days
before unmerging our calendars.

I drink more water now and I am angry about that as well,
that something as basic as water makes me think
of Lake Merritt in September
four icy cups nestled in our arms
foreheads pressed together between sips.
I am angry about all my new habits:
the eyelashes, 5 minute buffers,
the day I told someone I was garden variety nervous
and almost bit off my tongue.

most hours I think
for god’s sake, good riddance
how awful a love, I mean lover
most hours I am angry
which is to say I am okay
but then the heat goes
and in the cold, I am quiet again
in the cold, a voice asks
what about Sunday mornings, or the beach
what about your birthday, the hand drawn map:
you nicked a finger sliding it into its glass frame,
I spent the night turning lovely
in your cut hands
and what am I supposed to do then?



Juliana Chang is a Taiwanese-American writer, storyteller, and filmmaker. She received a BA in Linguistics and a MA in Sociology from Stanford University in 2019. Juliana is the 2019 recipient of the Urmy/Hardy Poetry Prize, and her writing appears or is forthcoming in The Chestnut Review, K’in, RABBIT magazine, Rufous City Review, and more.

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