“Woman of Myriad Seeds” by Margaret Stetler
She has seeds she has given away
that are worth nothing.
She says they are wild and rare.
She has seeds and doesn’t know
what flower they came from.
She says they are exotic seeds.
She has seeds she wanted to plant,
She has seeds she planted
that shed their skins
and rotted underground.
She has seeds so tiny, they slip
through her fingers before
she can plant them.
She has seeds so tough,
they can’t open out of themselves.
She has white seeds her mother gave her
that are really salt.
Her mother said they would yield
a salve for wounds.
She has black seeds her father gave her
that are hard tacks.
He said it was better to hold a life together
than to grow.
She gave her daughter seeds that split open
and grew in air.
She gave her son seeds he spilled
on the ground.
They grew into two thorn bushes
she could not tend.
She gave her husband seeds that looked
like pearls to pay the rent.
He planted them by the roadside
where they came up weeds.
She gave him the seeds of the weeds
to pay the rent.
She has seeds that are small and round
and shiny, and inside them are more seeds,
and inside them, more seeds.
She has one lopsided seed she has carried
in her apron pocket for forty years.
It is waiting to grow
into her life.
Share your response to this work, in any form, here
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.