October 11, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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Marissa Coon Rose




Elegy for Victoria Marinova



What did you need? Last moments

on Earth, before the roughshod


night set in, before the one

who murdered you turned


and turned his hands over a push pin,

waiting to mark you on the worst kind


of map. Were you craving words

for water? Phrases for sky?


What alphabet floundered in you,

your voice already floating


apart, graying, an ethereal cloud

inside your head?


I wanted to tell you about a puzzle

I once owned, called twelve sisters:


twelve linked strips of shellacked pine

that jailed a mahogany ball.


With deft finger work, you could jostle

and shimmy


until the sisters broke into repose

surrounding the lolling sphere,


and while my novice hands

flapped and picked,


they could never liberate the center,

though it leaped. Same


as anything. Sisters with both arms

trapped inside a bad gap, between them


a sphere of unspoken need–

what a smooth shape it is,


no edge to cling to, only scraped at

by an earnest fingernail. Victoria,


I wanted to tell you I’m sorry,

that I own it as much as any one can,


brushing our bellies against all

that writhes among us


as it rolls over and over again

inside the interlock.






Marissa Coon Rose

I spend most of my life working on words: reading, writing, or advocating for literacy.

You can read some of my published work here.  If I had to pick a few favorite honors, these would top the list: crafting my first poetry manuscript under Michael Meyerhofer,  being accepted to the Yale Writer’s Workshop and getting a chance to work with Tara Elan-McVoy, and my publication in ‘Mapping the Muse: A Bicentennial Look at Indiana Poetry” as the representative poet for my county.

In addition to writing, I’ve spent my career figuring out how to get paid to love books. I have an undergraduate degree in school library media, which meant I spent my college years reading everything from Knuffle Bunny to Thirteen Reasons Why and calling it homework. I also did a stint in book retail, where I got to do things like stand on a stool with a loudspeaker and herd rabid teens into color-coded lines for the midnight release of Breaking Dawn

Nowadays, I split my time between advocating for early childhood education, where (among other things) I administer a local network of Little Free Libraries. I also organize and advocate for better adult literacy opportunities in my community.

Get in touch at [email protected]

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