Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Summer 

by Chen Chen

You are the ice cream sandwich connoisseur of your generation.

Blessed are your floral shorteralls, your deeply pink fanny pack with travel size lint roller just in case.

Level of splendiferous in your outfit: 200.

Types of invisible pain stemming from adolescent disasters in classrooms, locker rooms, & quite often Toyota Camrys: at least 10,000.

You are not a jigglypuff, not yet a wigglytuff.

Reporters & fathers call your generation “the worst.”

Which really means “queer kids who could go online & learn that queer doesn’t have to mean disaster.”

Or dead.

Instead, queer means, splendiferously, you.

& you means someone who knows that common flavors for ice cream sandwiches in Singapore include red bean, yam, & honeydew.

Your powers are great, are growing.

One day you will create an online personality quiz that also freshens the breath.

The next day you will tell your father, You were wrong to say that I had to change.

To make me promise I would. To make me promise.

& promise.

Copyright © 2021 by Chen Chen. Used with the permission of the author. Previously published in Poetry Magazine in March 2021.

Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), which was long-listed for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. His work appears/is forthcoming in many publications, including Ploughshares, Poem-a-Day, and three editions of The Best American Poetry (2015, 2019, and 2021). He has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman and the National Endowment for the Arts. With a brilliant team, he edits the journal Underblong. He teaches at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence and lives in Waltham, MA with his partner Jeff Gilbert and their pug Mr. Rupert Giles. For more: chenchenwrites.com

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for our series is from Excursions Op. 20, Movement 1, by Samuel Barber, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by a generous donation from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library.