Chen Chen

Crybaby Cowboy

You cried & rode  
the back of a question 
till the crying  
rode you  

Rode you & rode   
till the sun  
had your face & so  
shone right through  
the trees (trunks n all)  

      sun through    trees
      sun    through trees 
      sun through    trees  

It was terrible there was  
no shade no picnic blankets  
spread beneath no fruit eaten  
absentmindedly while reading  
no reading under  
any tree neither solitary  
nor to one another 
while raspberries & peaches 
no one sat feeling  
the flirty tickle of a breeze 
there was no breeze  
there were no books  
though always there was  
there shone 
a reading light  
& everyone was legible   
terribly unmysteriously legible  
to everyone 
thanks to your face  
which never set  

Chen Chen is the author of Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions), a best book of 2022 according to the Boston Globe, Electric Lit, and others. His debut, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions), was long-listed for the 2017 National Book Award and won the 2018 Thom Gunn Award. He has received two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and United States Artists. He teaches for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College, Stonecoast, and Antioch.