The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: As She Appears by Shelley Wong

This selection, chosen by guest editor Samantha Duncan, is from As She Appears by Shelley Wong, released by YesYes Books in 2022.

Winter Pineapple with Sea

When the sun pierces
my brick turret, I awaken

with drawn-out limbs,
a spare dancer, dreamless

in a beam of dust.
What’s in my chest

is not a fist, nor a peony
but something

knotted & harder
to pull awake. I sense

its shooting music
& not its heat.

Like a returning sea
captain, I should

place a pineapple
by the door

as an invitation
for guests. Down

the street, a tree
strips to bone.

Because she peeled
my first peach, they rot

in my kitchen. I keep
buying them, though

the thought
of their sweetness

stings. In the polar
winter, snow

erases snow.
I leap over ice

in a pineapple skirt
as the wind sends

its voltage through
the low landscape.

I see
& tell myself

I am seeing.
Startle, startle

I say, a hand
on my heart.

How the season holds,
rippling arpeggios

while I play
a spectator,

a flash of gold,
a ship dropped

in a stilled sea.

Shelley Wong is the author of As She Appears (YesYes Books, May 2022), winner of the 2019 Pamet River Prize. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, and New England Review. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman, MacDowell, and Vermont Studio Center. She is an affiliate artist at Headlands Center for the Arts and lives in San Francisco. 

Samantha Duncan is the author of four poetry chapbooks, including Playing One on TV (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2018) and The Birth Creatures (Agape Editions, 2016), and her work has appeared in BOAAT, SWWIM, Meridian, and The Pinch. She lives in Houston.

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