Emerging BIWOC Poet Spotlight

This monthly series features poems by women of color in the early stages of their publishing careers. It is our intention to create more space at Perugia for the work of poets who are Black, Indigenous, and women of color (BIWOC). We hope using our platform to celebrate this work will expand the readership of the poets we spotlight. This series aligns with Perugia’s mission to support and promote emerging women poets; featured poems will be from poets with no more than one published full-length collection. We’d love to hear from readers with suggestions for poems & poets to feature.

May 2023 Poet: Maya Marshall

Photo by Ashley Kaushinger

Girl Secrets in Her Own Cocoon

To have a door! The back of which she could
wake to, smile at, brush her girl lips and hips
against. At night, she’d sit cross-legged
on the floor, press her knees to the door’s face.
In her room, she’d deny her mother
entry, adorn herself in costume jewels
and pick her hair out round. She’d say yes
to her own face, neither too dark nor too much her
daddy’s. In her mirror, she’d perfect her
smile—with teeth, without—smack her lips,
play woman without her mother’s boyfriend
telling her feed me a little a this
fish. She’d take her cue from Martha Reeves,
jerk and gyrate. She wouldn’t need nowhere to run.


All the Blood Involved in Love, Haymarket Books, 2022

Poet Bio

Maya Marshall is the author of the poetry collection All the Blood Involved in Love and the chapbook Secondhand. She is cofounder of underbelly, the journal on the practical magic of poetic revision. Marshall is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Adelphi University. Twitter: @mayaAmarshall; IG @maya.marshall.16.

To learn more about Maya Marshall, visit her website.