In this edition of Voices in Verse, we present the fullest power of prosody — that of making the universal from the particular. Here the poet reveals as she conceals, bringing us to whatever truth we find, without necessarily explaining the whole truth of her inspiration.

When asked to give us a way to introduce her to our readers, Marisa M. (a nom de plume created to separate herself from a time in her life when she was part of the celebrity culture) chose not to give a traditional background paragraph, but rather to describe herself in verse.

For this searing summer season, then, we have mystery and mastery to offer. We expect Marisa’s words will take you somewhere or bring you back to some experiences of your own.

* * * * *

Once upon a time there was a little girl
born into a family of five brothers
and her mother and her father

This little girl was not allowed to say no
no was disrespectful, no brought trouble
she was "to take care of others"

She grew to become the best daughter
she grew to become the best sister
she grew to become the best wife
she grew to become the best friend

Family and friends loved having her around
she was caring, entertaining, witty, fun, engaging, smart,
unselfish, an abundance of generosity

And then, as she grew to become exhausted with all of them
as she searched to understand

Someone came along and saw inside that little girl
saw inside the mother and father
saw inside the brothers
saw inside the husband
saw inside the friends

That someone took that little girl
who was now an adult
and recklessly and dangerously
delved deep into her psyche
twisting and turning and pulling
the wounds of her soul
as he defined misogyny
and laid bare her trauma of no

* * * * *

"The Profundity of No"

no baffles me
I do not know what to do with no
I look at no
I stand still
I look at no

no was meant for overt behavior
physical and or threatening

no does not apply elsewhere
not acceptable word

I look at no
I lie down
I do not move
I look at no

Marissa M.

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