What Remains by Maggie Stetler


“What Remains” by Maggie Stetler


                 — Remembering Virginia Woolf



As a woman, I guarded 

my body too, longed for a 

mother, not a man, married 

for love and art but not sex. 

As a child in Pennsylvania, 

I dodged imaginary Cold-War 

bombs, pre-divorce barrages. 

In London, yours, a real war. 

No matter, wounds concur: 

woman down. Still you met 

head on: fiction, insanity, the 

folding over of mind and world.



You, buffeted, frail — your words 

shot me out of orbit. A blast of 

truth lodged in the central nerve. 

A kaleidoscope of self 

and others fused, refracted; 

time and space collapsed, 

colliding. I rode your waves, 

voyaged out and back, safe

by your piercing light. For you, 

repercussions: headaches, 

despair, voices. You died 

many times before you died.



I stand in the 21st Century 

on my river bank. Cast 

a stone, wade out, tread 

water, float. Easier than 

your walk, still a distance. 

Other side, sepia in morning 

haze, you wave recognition. 

In a second lasting 130 years, 

your body bursts into flames. 

What remains: a spinning thread 

of connection  — blood, veins, 

hair, gut, gamete — all pure gold.



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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.


Author: A Room of Her Own

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