Kirsten Shu-ying Chen

Most Animals

What it must be like

to arrive headfirst

into everything—


rooms          conversations


The body an afterthought,


trailing behind. As in

the performance of dreams, 

at best, an agility of guiltlessness, a sudden 


bird careens above the labyrinth

where the nest once was.

It’s hard to say why we’re here.


Maybe compassion, revoked, was less 

about our suffering, and meant more

to decipher the nearest signpost—


not the end, which has always been

a failure of imagination, but rather, 

the leaving, a much brighter tale—


the originals all in wait, lined along the clearing.

The werewolf’s sugary residue.

The moonbeams pouring.

Kirsten Chen.jpg



Kirsten Shu-ying Chen is an American poet and writer with her MFA from the New School. She is the author of Images of Light, forthcoming with Terrapin Books sometime in 2022. Chen has been shortlisted for numerous awards including the Disquiet International Literary Prize and the Grist Pro Forma Contest.Her work can be found at Bodega Magazine, Hanging Loose Press, Lantern Review, and elsewhere.