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)
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