Taken for Granted
Hands leave behind more than prints—the knitting and the ripping, emptygrape stems in a red bowl, a bruise.When I said engine I meant death.Grace invites us into itself so consistently,we can refuse it. Stars uncover their eyesin the dark. Lightning always seeksthe ground. Morning will find usstill breathing. I never understoodthe impulse to carve initials into a tree,plant my footprint in wet concrete.Forgetfulness is ecstasy’s cousin.I’d be lost without the horizon.Nothing royal about a queen-sized bed.Twists and turns are the most direct.Maybe careen is my normal. I needa mirror to see my face, and even thenit’s on backwards. I’m not you. I’m likeyou. I’m nothing but you. Some lotusesonly bloom in moonlight. Sound needssilence to make sense. When I eat grapes,I eat the sun. Inside the bruise, my song.
Marie-Elizabeth MaliOriginally published in Union Station Magazine, May 2011
Who Says the Ear Loves Silence
After Patrick Rosal
Doesn’t the ear love the janglingkeys, the lock clicked open,the beloved cominghome, and the comingtoo, the oh, God!Doesn’t it love, love,crave that voice. The ear—after all—begs to dancea malleus, incus, stapes tangowith air. The ear lovesthe peculiar whooshof wind and thunder’s hollerjangling bones caught mid-sleepin a rocking chair. The earloves the knock of rainin a drainpipe, the singing saw’sthrenody in a tiled tunnel,the all-brass band. Butthe ear worriesabout what it can’thear: the traveling husbandflying, driving, eating, teachingand in his chesta ticking bomb.
Marie-Elizabeth MaliOriginally published in Poet Lore, Spring 2011
On Being Left
There’s a woman in me who drinks poisonlike water, thinks it’s what she needsto stay alive. I wish she’d learn to savorwater’s plain taste, enjoy quench and calm.But give her hurricane and drownedpeony blooms and she smiles, raisesher face to the rain and says, Hit me.
I can’t stand feeling wind on my skinbecause it’s not your hands.
I don’t know how not to hand youthe match, how not to let you strike itand light this house on fire, how notto relish disappearing into ash,my bones crumbled, an explodedplum all that’s left of my heart.
The ground that is not trueground but spindled grief.
After you’ve swum in the ocean, feltthe current, wave-crash, and depththat goes deeper, deeper, and darker,to choose a lake, with its smoothand silt, no matter how fresh the water,how relieved the skin to be rid ofthe salt’s sting, is to ignore the hungerof the man brave enough to love the sea.
Marie-Elizabeth MaliOriginally published in Muzzle Magazine, Summer 2013
© 2019 Marie-Elizabeth Mali | All Rights Reserved
Images of Marie-Elizabeth byIn Her Image Photography