by Marissa Davis

an excerpt from mar(r)o(o)n

a quarter of me was apocalypse. one atrium: annihilation. annihilating. feeling: rouge-red, chest-clench, skin-heat, heartshake like a ripe fruit splitting, brain mis en feu & dunked in ice, smoking, steaming, malade de misère, d’être fille-invisible, soit je n’existe plus soit je ne suis que peau

soit je n’ai jamais existé, soit
je suis erreur. erreuse. j’erre: a changeable & unstable being. a lower atmosphere.
comb in cumulonimbus hair. fille-rien, fille-errante. orage hounding sleep to be oracle in dream.

(I wanted to be sleeping———————————
all the time. cure for thinking.—————–
or breaking. or waiting. or waking. or faisant rage
comme le vent: un hurlement, an acute cri)

a quarter of me was insomniac, craving night as suture for a plaie. a plea. une découverte or prickly pear. dévorant, that drive to sharpen & brille, or at least somehow meet a black maria in the mirror: now misdefined geography, now traveler’s saint. or both at once.

a quarter of me was translation, burden of weighty alchemy. a boulder so necessary as to spawn both Sisyphus & hill. language a process unnatural to me: plutôt fille de pouls, de compulsion, température, poumon-shudder, & color—colors shouting in the mind.

(—how to make that mean, to say to anyone but me?:
this is the gash, this the astonishing dagger.)——————

thus a quarter of me was rage & wrangle: here tempest, here wind
instrument: an organ or un ouragan. something mutinous & janused. on the face:
a tranquil eye, yes—& a mouth gaining speed, nearly wild enough to gulp a sea.


[Marissa Davis is a poet and translator from Paducah, Kentucky, now residing in Brooklyn, New York. Her poetry has appeared or will soon appear in Sundog Lit, Poem-A-Day, Frontier Poetry, Glass, Nimrod, Great River Review, New SouthSoutheast Review, Rattle, and Mississippi Review, among others. Her translations are published in Ezra and forthcoming in Mid-American Review, RHINO, The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, and The Common. Her chapbook My Name & Other Languages I Am Learning How to Speak (Jai-Alai Books, 2020) was selected by Danez Smith for Cave Canem’s 2019 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Prize. Davis holds an MFA in poetry from New York University.]