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Marie-Elizabeth Mali

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Marie-Elizabeth Mali is the author of Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011). She lives in Santa Monica, California.

by this poet


Balancing on crutches in the shallows
near her mother, a girl missing her right lower leg
swings her body and falls, laughing.
Behind them, her father and brother play catch.
Up the beach, the incoming tide nibbles
a sleeping woman, another beer is opened.
A young veteran walks by with


I'd lean close, my ear
to her whisper and roar,
her tongue scattered
with stars.
She'd belt her brassy voice
over the waves' backbeat.
No one sings better than her.
Would she ever bite
the inside of her cheek?
Would she yell at the moon

Pulling out of Union Square station, the subway
sounds the first three notes of There's a place for us,
somewhere a place for us. A woman sits on me, shoves
her dim planet-face at mine and blames me
for not moving. My face half numb—
post-root canal. I want to incinerate