Kirsten Chen

Kirsten Chen’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Artist Catalogue, NYU’s Anamesa, PANK, Best American Poetry blog, the Seventh Wave, VIATOR and more.




at the tiny ant on my window sill!

So desperate for a piece of cracker.

So hungry for a lick of salt.

She crawls

over makeshift mountains of books

thick with the grime of untouched pages.

See there’s Hitchhiker’s guide

and in the corner is Great


Expectations, and Little Women.

Oh, my old diary; its broken spine.

On the ledge,

The Economist is being used

as an ashtray surrounded by news-

paper clippings and research articles

—the top one on Happiness and Work.


And this is where my ant gets lost

in the crease between chapters folded in.

She lands on page 89, a section circled in red.

It reads: Karoshi:

Japanese for

sudden, occupational death.


Poor miss ant doesn’t know

which way to go,

so she bores herself

into the binding, gets stuck

under a salt crystal

and I watch as she tries

to crumb her way out



Anatomy of night


Bodies—what a hassle!

Will you take this parcel of tendon?

This a lot to ask another.

But if you’re going

to come inside, I may as well brief you:

I have an affinity for the left

and sometimes I stay

curled up all night, awake

and angry

at myself in cycles

in search of a comfortable position

and for some reason my

fists, bend into wrists—

an awkward kind of solace

my eyes, open

drying at the dark,

my neck

craning toward you.

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