A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

In a portrait shot, Carmen Maria Machado stands at a reception with a young student.

“Valentine,” by Marina Chen


there is a red-quilted heart-shaped box of chocolates sitting on my bedside and a pink envelope with my name on it          written in a script that speaks          secrets I will never spill even if the time      comes that the script          is all I have left to remember

rain on a green ice cream cone the night I came to LA          not poetically just simple rain          I found no inspiration in that city          as an artist I must say I was disappointed          I guess          when you have left your rose-tinted lenses back home          it is hard to find love elsewhere

in broad wet midmorning          a yellow tarp sold rose bouquets for cheap          we deliver          I remember thinking darling          that if I had mailed one to you          the wilted blooms would          after finding themselves miles from home         far after the appropriate holiday had passed          not say enough

rain in LA is different          it grows a green destined to burn          darling do you think there is a tree          that has never seen fire          darling I stood to your left underneath the sidewalk          and let the Earth          drip unto me so that it would not unto you          water met my scalp with a dingy platter on my dark shampooed strands

it was a song of craving          I pressed replay

 Marina Chen is a 2019/20 Youth Poet Laureate Finalist. Performed at Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Women You Need to Know (WYNK) event with Carmen Maria Machado at Town Hall Seattle on January 24, 2020.

Posted in Student WritingWomen You Need to KnowWriters in the SchoolsYouth Poet Laureate2019/20 Season