A July Poem by Feng Sun Chen


Sometime, said the paper queen, you will cease to be loved.
Maybe you will be lucky
and a kind witch will tell you why. It’s probably your personality,
for example. You will not understand your pain,
which is shaped like a windmill and moves
by the tug of a horrible moon
but you may learn to live with it, or forget it
for longer and longer stretches.
In this case, the story must rest
on my profound endurance.
What a long time I have gone on! Even after the baby dropped
and happiness has proven itself to parts of the world
like glow on a map of electric consumption,
a country of darkness
run with glitter.
I want to kill
you, with my glittering heart.
I can never stop
until I do.
But I am small.
Maybe, said vole, you are too small.
Maybe, said the naked mole, you will have to give up or somehow
eat it from the inside.
There are other things to think about, said the princess
in a dress made of leaves, such as art. Where is your worm gun?
Let freedom sprout. Show me how you love.
Spangled one, how precarious and plump you look
perched on a white fence. Happiness, said the paper
beggar, who is really a god,
comes from within. Oh, how he hobbles! Look on, look on.
Here is richer than you. There are forces
much larger at work here,
humming about like godmothers.
I am small, I am small. Here comes the parade! All that beauty!
I want to die! I want to die!
I want to die!


* from Butcher’s Tree, Black Ocean, 2012.

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