Mary Maroste – Two Poems


For the Pink Water at Dusk

After 12 miles I could still feel the fly in my throat,
swallow & cough –

my grandfather –
curled against the radiator, snapping rubber bands against his fingers,
green & brown light from the stained glass window –
weird shade of green, not very pretty –
shinning on his pill bottles filled with brandy.


Stale – headache, a large male rattle snake trapped in a glass bubble,
communion wafers swollen on my tongue.

I whispered my regrets into toilet paper rolls & wrapped them in tissue,
put them in a box on my porch –

I was still left with my hands.


my father, your son, wasn’t enough,
you talked to frogs in the middle of the night, begging them to pray for you.


All of these things are empty –

copper veins in the basalt, milkweed,
the small blue backpack I forgot in the woods.

Petrified Wood in Chassell Bay

My hands swallow
& fill with cold water, like the small sailboat
stuck in my stomach –

the needle in the sewing machine, our bones,
don’t fit the same way we were taught.

My father told me to change until I was displayed on a vase,
until I was sorry enough for it to crumble in my hands.

I imagine my birth in 1966,
& want my mother’s weak shoulders to tether to my spine –

6 years ago, my parents bought a hotel & forgot how to breathe slowly.
I was five feet tall, I wore sweatshirts without a bra & drip dried my hair
so it would lay flat over my eyes. Between classes I drank red wine, laid in the bathroom & thought about the shape my face would make if it was pushed against the wall.
On my birthday I flipped mattresses & found a condom covered in oil & dust.
This was the same year my little toes started turning purple & the nest of torn t-shirts
hidden under my bed burned. The same year my dog bit my hand while I filled shot glasses
with sleeping pills & cried about the boy that left graphite in my arm.

That summer, covered in bruises,
I built 13 rooms out of twine & wasp paper,

sacrificed my body to thin fingers,
faded pink lungs & the shimmering dust at the bottom of my makeup bag.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

I often find myself being intrigued in the workings of the natural world. Due to this fascination, I find it impossible to write a poem without nature being where I root my emotions.  As Margret Atwood once said; “the only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce a crystal formation.”   Beauty is in the way a lake turns to juice during a sunset, or how monarch butterflies take 4 generations to migrate, these small things that require attention.  The natural world will continue to portray beauty whether or not anyone cares.  Thus, as a poet, I try to make myself care and pay attention, I try to see the world differently so that I can truly interact with nature and life outside of myself.


Mary Maroste is a junior at Western Michigan University. She is majoring in Creative Writing and Communication Studies. She has been previously published in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, 3288 Review, Winter Tangerine, Sink Hollow, and Jabberwock. Her chapbook Blueprint for a Home Without Tampons is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in 2017. She is from Houghton Michigan but currently resides and studies in Kalamazoo.