West of Schenectady

The sun sets like a whispered regret behind the hills or is that a mountain.
Moths come to the screen door as if that was what they were made for.
Moth for screen door. & vice versa.
I don’t have time for their secrets tonight.
I am making my loneliness small. So small it fits on a postcard
a baby rabbit could eat.
The sun sets like an expensive fragrance. Like the memory of a neck.
The coyotes come but don’t they know I’ve named that rabbit, stay away.
Stay far.
The sun sets like a new regret like a flute I am learning to play
& I’m bad at it. Progress is slow.
It’s like saying tapioca pudding into the phone.
& the phone doesn’t work, I just want its weight pressed against my ear
until my ear is sticky.
I’m in the mood for facts.
Big globs of them. Big adult rabbits of science.
There’s a town in Upstate New York called Esperance where the gravity
works fine.
Esperance, NY as if “hope” in French is a higher quality hope.
Made of jewels & brie.
The sun sets like a science special I hated once.

Chen Chen is a University Fellow in creative writing at Syracuse University, where he also serves as Poetry Editor for Salt Hill. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, Crab Orchard Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Connotation Press, Split This Rock (Poem of the Week) and Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, among other places. He has received fellowships from Kundiman, Tent: Creative Writing, and the Saltonstall Foundation.