Victoria Chang

Edward Hopper Study: Hotel Room

While the man is away
telling his wife
about the red-corseted woman,
the woman waits
on the queen-sized bed.
You’d expect her quiet
in the fist of a copper
statue. Half her face,
a shade of golden meringue,
the other half, the dark
of cattails. Her mouth even—
too straight, as if she doubted
her made decision, the way
women do. In her hands,
a yellow letter creased,
like her hunched back.
Her dress limp on a green chair.
In front, a man’s satchel
and briefcase. On a dresser,
a hat with a ceylon
feather. That is all
the artist left us with,
knowing we would turn
the woman’s stone into ours,
a thirst for the self
in everything—even
in the sweet chinks
of mandarin.

Victoria Chang
Edward Hopper Study: Hotel Room first appeared in Poetry magazine, and is reprinted from the collection Circle with permission from Southern Illinois Press.