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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Poem: 176 words
By Marie-Elizabeth Mali


A healer once told me my cervical bones 
were filled with terror, that I’d hang out 
in the ethers any time over inhabiting 
my body. Whenever my neck hurts 
I tell my bones, I want to be here, 
but they don’t listen. Fear as close 
as a fingernail and its dirt. 
If I weren’t made of belly-clench 
and nerve-quiver, I think I’d miss that hum. 
By the ocean, the freight train of thoughts 
stalled for a few, I remember how good 
it feels to stop and listen, to empty 
and fill. The moment, sun on my neck, 
when, for once, I’m not running here 
or there, belly-clenched, late. I find 
a dark stone washed up on the sand. 
Stones aren’t as solid as they seem. 
Neither are stars. I listen for the waves’ 
reminder, crave the salt’s sting. 
Maybe I met God once in a lake crowded 
with golden jellyfish that follow the sun. 
Wearing a mask and snorkel, I lay on the lake, 
breathing so slowly I forgot I was there. 


Marie-Elizabeth Mali
Issue 12, March 2022

As a Relationship Alchemist and TEDx Speaker, Marie-Elizabeth Mali shows individuals and couples how to deepen love and connection in their relationships. Drawing on her Master’s degree in Chinese Medicine and over 20 years of client work, she teaches people how to be authentic instead of shrinking themselves to fit in. She also has an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and is the author of one book of poetry, Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011) and co-editor with Annie Finch of the anthology, Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2012). Her relationship work has been featured in Thrive Global, SWAAY, and Forbes, and her poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Rattle, and Tiferet.

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