Mn poetry: (Demilitarized Zone) by Sun Yung Shin

Sun Yung Shin is out with her second book of poetry, “Rough, and Savage.” Shin is the author of Skirt Full of Black, winner of the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry in 2008. She is also the author of the bilingual Korean/English illustrated book for children, Cooper’s Lesson.

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Sun Yung Shin

Photo: Dan Markworth

Sun Yung Shin will read from her poetry at Banfille-Locke Center for the Arts this Friday night along with poet Scott Wrobel. Here’s a sample of her work.

(Demilitarized Zone)

Like a wedding ring, or the bride’s green ribbon, you shelter me.

No business but war.You remind me of a kind of heaven.

A cairn of rocks casting shadows in the shape of a man.

Thou art the table before me in the sight of my adversaries, thou dost

anoint my head: oil and rain, thou art a ghost with a girl’s mouth,

thou art not the making of my dreams–under water, under cliff,

under this long suitcase of earth and bombs.More than any mortal

could gather beneath the skirt of the sky.

You are never eager, nor famished, nor pale with a craving for white

clothes or my nocturnes.

Let your lynx approach, even tiger, even its wild outline.

You need no ferryman or the obolus of the dead.

If I put a coin in my mouth I taste copper, not the corpse.

They say that bodies fertilized the ground so well the trees grow

bright and tall.The bones blur.We return alive.

- “(Demilitarized Zone)” is reprinted by permission from Rough, and Savage (Coffee House Press, 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Sun Yung Shin.

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