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Chen Chen

My Secret

I whisper my secret into the hollow of a tree
I sing my secret to a piece of cheese
to a dill pickle
to a whole sandwich
I give my secret wholly to a tree
between the Baltic & the Nordic
to every tree on this suburban block
to stay-at-home dads & birds of prey
to Kafka’s pet
who eats my secret as though it were delicious
I swoop by & drop it in the enormous
kitten-slash-lamb mouth
For I am a crow of stupid stupid
proportions which is not my secret
it’s just a terrible fact
like knives
& movie spoilers
& Olympic bronze medalist Tom Daley’s
marvelous ass
Perhaps my secret is a torrid affair with Tom
But it isn’t
My secret is far more scandalous
far less sayable
Though it impresses no one not even the clown
at the little brat’s birthday party
who’s in dire need of a life
a life beyond all these backyards
& balloons

You show up

You show up, late
in a blue T-shirt—
½ the blue
of fresh exam books,

½ the blue
of Paul Bunyan’s ox,

& zebra stripes
of November dusk
on your pale,
muscular legs—

what you are late for
I don’t know,

I don’t know
what your face looks like,
but I know that you’re
wearing a large

cardinal feather
as an earring, & that

you’re winking
when you hand me
a suitcase full of
tomorrow’s weather

with which I must paint
your portrait

Chen Chen received his B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and is currently a University Fellow in Syracuse University's creative writing program. He also teaches composition to undergraduates and serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Salt Hill. His work has recently appeared in or is forthcoming from Connotation Press, Pif Magazine, Anti-, and Birdfeast, among others. He was a finalist for Sycamore Review's 2012 Wabash Poetry Prize and was the winner of Driftwood Press's 2013 Ghazal Contest. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and Tent: Creative Writing.