Duplex (The Big Water) / Nest

by Maya Marshall

Duplex (The Big Water)

I want to say yes to the river,
and live with the knowledge that I am small.
            I live with the knowledge that I am small,
            with all my good learning. Truth is still hard.
With all my good learning, truth is still hard.
Sober, I find my mind in disarray.
            To save my life, I undress this disarray.
            Fear babbles beneath. Terror cannot protect.
Terror cannot protect like anger does,
and a vulnerable life leaves room for love.
            A vulnerable life leaves room for you
            to love yourself enough to lose someone.
To love yourself enough to lose someone is
to become the river, not the estuary.


in a corner of a covered
porch outside a house
that never belonged to us
hung a dung-gum
dangling palace
dual bodies hummed
inside my parents’ marriage
a dry corn cob
the whole husk rattlehiss
in the spring hornets buzzed
never slick with anything
sweet like honey

Maya Marshall is a writer and an editor. She is co-founder of underbellymag.com, the journal on the practical magic of poetic revision. Marshall has earned fellowships from MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, Callaloo, Cave Canem, and the Community of Writers. She works as a manuscript editor for Haymarket Books and has served as a senior editor for [PANK]. She is the author of Secondhand, a chapbook published by dancing girl press. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2019, Blood Orange Review, RHINO, Potomac Review, Blackbird and elsewhere.