balinese monkey dance

by Maw Shein Win

my mom called me pixie. the day i was born. she said,
what a little pixie.  we'll call her pixie and we'll
dress her in green.  so that was my entry into this
blood-red, coal-black world.  my infant dreams were
filled with emerald ghosts and terraced rice paddies. 
my mother had a wooden cage made for me which i lived
in until the age of six.  by the age of eight, i had
perfected the balinese monkey dance and the neighbors
clapped.  by the age of ten, my diet consisted
entirely of cilantro, alfalfa, and collard greens.

i felt nothing.
pain.  joy.  lust.  anger.

why i was let out of my cage i never knew.


Maw Shein Win lives in Berkeley, California. Her work has been published in journals such as Watchword, Shampoo, Instant City, and Hyphen and she has recent work in Progress Chrome, Boston Literary Review, and Red Hills Review. She is the editor of Comet and was recently awarded a summer residency at Marin Headlands Center for the Arts for 2006. This poem originally appeared in Printed Matter.
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