by Maw Shein Win


in the first version:
she is lying on the mattress
a man is next to her
he is thick and solid
like an uprooted tree
his branches swing towards her

in the second version:
she lies in a tomb
the tomb is being filled
with a clear liquid
the liquid has a texture,
not unlike drinking bits of glass,
a poison or a preservative
for the body that has not expired yet

in the third version:
she looks up at the wall
two figures emerge
one is of a man who holds a vial
filled with a clear liquid
the other is a woman
who stands behind him
we cannot see the face of the other

in the first version:
her body rejects the liquid
they keep pouring it in
she keeps throwing it up
it is an attempt to live

as the hands move towards her
she is drawn deeper
into the mattress
long brown fingers
pointing upwards

in the second version:
a triangle of light
forms on the stuccoed wall
she asks the light
what does this mean?

the shadow figure
informs her that she is
the queen of new york
and her body is to be filled with pith

the soft inner substance of feather or hair;
or to sever and destroy the spinal cord,
of, usually by inserting a needle into the
vertebral canal; or strength, vigor, mettle

in the final version:
she puts on the silver dress
and the silver shoes
kohl-framed eyes

she is on the dance floor
of a nightclub
the orb throws circles of
light on extended arms


Next: "A State of Mind"