The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Curator’s Notes by Robin Rosen Chang

This selection, chosen by guest editor Amber Alexander, is from The Curator's Notes by Robin Rosen Chang, released by Terrapin Books in 2021.


My mother’s arm reaches 
				out of the water 
								and slides back in. 

Then the other arm. Repeatedly, 
				they appear and disappear 
					as they move her through the turbulent ocean. 

						She’s swimming diagonal to the shoreline, 
				          almost like someone 
			          caught in a riptide. 

			  But she’s not. She’s going calmly— 
of her own volition, retreating 

from the beach where I lie. 
				I squeeze my shut eyes hard. 

								A sliver of her face 
			  appears, a waning moon, 
when her head turns 

					after every second stroke. Her mouth opens 
			just enough 
	to pull in air that holds life in her. 

			     Fixed on something 
					     she seems to see, 
							     she keeps going. 

She doesn’t struggle. 
			The current 
						doesn’t batter her. 
								It doesn’t carry her off. 

She’s a white spot in the water— 
she’s taking herself away—

Robin Rosen Chang is the author of the full-length poetry collection, The Curator’s Notes (Terrapin Books). Her poems appear in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Journal, Diode, North American Review, The Cortland Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of the Oregon Poetry Association’s Fall 2018 Poets’ Choice Award, an honorable mention for Spoon River Poetry Review‘s 2019 Editors’ Prize, and a 2021 Pushcart nominee. She has an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Amber Alexander, who publishes creative work as e. holloway, is a poet based in Ohio. They currently work in higher education and as an Assistant Editor for Best Of The Net within Sundress Publications. Alexander is a former Editorial Intern for Sundress Publications, former Editorial Board Member for Cornfield Review, and was a Sundress Academy for The Arts Writing Resident in 2023. Their work has been published by Cornfield Review and earned multiple awards during undergrad at The Ohio State University.

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