“Body Parts” by Margaret Stetler
Leg lies on the rug like a dog’s gnawed bone.
Arm against the bookcase.
Foot in its slipper beside the chair.
Under table glass, head with blood-matted hair.
The house is dark, vulnerable to sky and earth
the way the sleeper is to wakeful, watching ones.
In the dream I ride with a stunt driver, a man I love.
He speeds to the edge of a cliff, has seconds to brake.
I count on him, he fails, the car flies forward into air.
Down in the mall, shoppers pick through the pieces.
A murderer is still in the house.
Let me reconstruct the crime:
I rise up tall and proud in my young body.
Each part belongs: arms, legs, hips, belly, thighs, head
and moves as a whole.
Even my breasts, too large, surely not mine, are lovely.
I leap, turn, lift arm and leg in arabesque.
The intruder raises his arm.
I am not dead.
I still have my best parts: my voice, my sex, my heart.
Only I cannot carry them on legs, reach out with hands
Or hold with arms, my self or another.
I cannot see who remains in the dark.
But I know he is weeping.
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Maggie Stetler Artist Statement:
A refugee from 9/11 NYC, Maggie Stetler now lives in Winchester, VA. Thanks
to many years of psychotherapy, she survived her parents’ 1950s divorce; a 20-
year separation from her father; and living in 17 houses by the time she was 17.
Maggie is an advocate for the mentally ill and abused, and champions the
creative arts as a means to heal and transform broken lives. She is a Quaker
(The Religious Society of Friends); a Reiki practitioner; and, as a substitute
teacher, cares for the souls of astounding young people. Her poems have most
recently appeared in the Buddhist Poetry Review; The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review;
Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing; Friends Journal; and Gathered:
Contemporary Quaker Poets. Her poems and drawings have hung in Soho, City
Island, and Shenandoah Valley galleries; one poem is on permanent view in the
bathroom of Steamy’s Café in Old Town Winchester.