The Poetry Project: Mari Ness
poetry project

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. And I give absolutely no fucks.

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April 26, 2016

Poetry Project

Mari Ness

Mari Ness

Mari Ness

Mari Ness is not quite as obsessed with myth and fairy tale as her work might suggest. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including, Clarkesworld Magazine, Apex Magazine,Daily Science Fiction, and Goblin Fruit. For more, check out her webpage at, or follow her on Twitter at @mari_ness.

The Thirteenth Child

If our thirteenth child is a girl, all her twelve brothers must die, so that she may be very rich, and the kingdom hers and hers alone.
     from Household Tales, collected by the Brothers Grimm.

I never knew
their names. Only
twelve coffins
in one straight line,
filling the cold grey crypt.

I never wanted
more bones. Only
those already
in my hands,
toys for our plain stone halls.

Read the rest at Uncanny.

 Oof, this poem–the repetition through the stanzas (until the last one) and the exploration of a single line from the Brothers Grimm just gets me every time I read it.  The short lines and repetitive language really serve to bring home the subject of the poem: the loneliness and isolation of the speaker in the wake of her brothers’ murders.  I have a real weakness for poems which deal with mythic or fairy tale subjects, so this poem is the jam to my toast. Or something like that.

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Words of Wisdom

"It's chaos, be kind."
Michelle McNamara