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Poem of the Week: September 18, 2017

Hello readers! Every week, the BOA staff shares one of our favorite poems from our over 300 collections of poetry. This week's poem is from Chen Chen's Poulin Prize-winning, National Book Award longlisted debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities—on sale now in the BOA Bookstore!

If I should die tomorrow, please note that I will miss the particular

music of the word "callipygian,"
which means the having of well-shaped buttocks.
I will miss the particular cruelty

of tongue twisters in my first tongue:
"Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī."

I will miss the particularly high volume
YES of correctly completing this tongue twister,
even once. & the deadpan ditty

of the English translation: "Mr. Shi, the poet
from a stone den, likes to eat lions. He pledges
solemnly to eat ten lions. Regularly

he goes to the market to look at the lions."
I will miss the roar of those lions,
hungering for freedom

while Mr. Shi hungers for them. & outside
the market, on a nearby street, the bright
ding-ding of a bicycle bell. & the messenger

singing, A telegram, a telegram
from overseas
. . .
& the sound of the sea.

The sound the sea makes at night,
delivering its own telegrams—
a sort of sensual

moo. I will miss the particular quiet
of my body, your body, opening
a window to listen.


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