I wanted to write about the world, but I had never traveled.
I wanted to write about sweat, but I had done nothing difficult.
I wanted to write about beauty, but I had no eye for it.
I wanted to write about music, but I was tone-deaf.
I wanted to write about sorrow, but I was in its throes.
I wanted to write about love, but I was alone.
In the end I wrote about death, it was a field I knew.
There I was cut down like a stalk by a machine,
there I fell into the earth and began again.
Jennifer Tseng has been the writer-in-residence at Hampshire College, a visiting writer at Colorado College, and she has taught Asian American Studies at UCLA. Her book “The Man With My Face” won the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s National Poetry Manuscript Competition and a 2006 PEN American Center Beyond Margins Award. Jennifer works at the West Tisbury Library and will serve as poetry editor for Martha’s Vineyard Arts & Ideas.