A Favorite Room

Poetry / Chen Chen

Down the sideways face, through the dilapidated waterfall,
we entered late afternoon’s house
& a favorite room: the room of the butterfly skeleton.

Intricate, delicate, somehow not an ounce of tragic.
So beautiful we thought we could have perfect
unswollen gums, be less predictable
gay men, obsessed with our mothers.

It whispered: the new year will bring more coffee flavors,
& sodas, overall more beverage-related upheavals.

It advised us never to buy anything
fresh again, & thus we could be just like it—

Never misspelling a state capital.
Never missing a coworker’s birthday.
Always just pretending to be dead.

Included in Bettering American Poetry 2016.

Chen Chen is the author of the chapbooks, Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015) and Kissing the Sphinx (Two of Cups Press, forthcoming 2016). A Kundiman Fellow, his work has appeared/is forthcoming in Poetry, Narrative, Indiana Review, Drunken Boat, and The Best American Poetry, among other places. He holds an MFA from Syracuse University and is currently pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing at Texas Tech University.