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Maw Shein Win: California Poets Part 2, Five Poems

Maw Shein Win

February 21st, 2021

California Poets: Part II

Maw Shein Win

Five Poems

All poems are from Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn, 2020)

Imaging Center the pointer stick she grips trails my twisting spine she plots movement with the exactness of a fingertip slow as the motion of a snail in love my naked back on treatment table coolness hardening into memory

Hippodrome a bag of lemons & what she thought was a midnight cry she longed to sing think about lemons now instead think about what besides the lemons, there were scratching bats only when she couldn’t hear him he would sing to her try to remember how he died nothing to do with skullcap nor walnuts & golf clubs she said she was Irish she said she ate catfish

Reliquary striped cat’s blazing eye sleeping nerves towering puppets distant theater of Barcelona rock vines looping gaze lavender husk fruit nut black madonna in glass case wardrobe of ghosts jagged edges pilgrimage stirred light roots in dark yanked from ground eyelashes like miniature chains

Tomb first version: she lies still the tomb is being filled with a clear liquid the liquid has a texture not unlike gelatin a poison or preservative for the body that has not yet expired second version: her body rejects the liquid they keep pouring it in she keeps throwing it up an attempt to live as the hands move towards her she is drawn deeper into the tomb third version: a triangle of light appears on stuccoed wall she asks: what does this mean? the figure informs her that she is the queen of New York & her body is to be filled with pith final version: she puts on the silver dress & silver shoes kohl-rimmed eyes she is on the dance floor of a nightclub the orb throws circles of light on extended arms

Tower a flying fish in smoky air one woman in cerulean dress balances on tower silk scarf over head a burden to breathe below forest on fire fallow deer wild boar sloth bear fleeing flame tower leans to east pivots moving earth she coughs drop of blood burnt sienna a tower shakes

Author Bio:

Maw Shein Win is a poet, editor, and educator who lives and teaches in the Bay Area. Her poetry chapbooks are Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA/Commonwealth Projects) and Score and Bone (Nomadic Press). Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. She was a 2019 Visiting Scholar in the Department of English at UC Berkeley. Win is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito, California (2016 – 2018). Her full-length poetry collection Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn, 2020) was longlisted for the 2021 PEN America Open Book Award. She often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers and is a Spring 2021 ARC Poetry Fellow at UC Berkeley.


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