Thursday, May 15, 2008


Some days he wears his prosthetic
leg, on others he walks with crutches,
shirtless, in shorts, no mistaking the loss

of a limb. I want to talk to him, but the dirt
on my hands and knees, my hair plastered
to my face after a morning in the garden,

stops me, as if the indication of my wholeness
may be met with suspicion, my own guilt
for having two legs rendering me as useless

as the stone that sits atop my dead cat's grave.
I don't know what I would say to him, nor how
I could explain my interest, its roots perhaps

more shallow than the hosta I just transplanted,
the rain starting to fall lightly now. I just want to know
if he feels it sometimes, that missing leg, if there is life

still pulsating beneath the knee, if he's angry,
how it happened. I project a pain that he may
not own at all, this young man, lovely dark hair

framing his face, my heart pounding in my chest,
its own lost rhythm knowing why I won't stand
up and go inside where my own losses, complete

but still there, would ring hollow and small, no sense
at all of what it would be like, thinking all the while
about that missing limb that no rain or sun or snow--

nor even the soft wet earth--will ever touch again.


james said...

i love it, maggie, and especially for the way it shapes itself in a very personal way, avoiding the pitfalls of sentiment and managing to express concern for another without losing hold of its own needs. life cripples in all sorts of ways, and perhaps, in the long run, the emotional wounds will have scarred us the most, for they have no prosthesis, no surcease.

Maggie said...

thanks, jim...I do so want to talk with him--he can't be more than 20...just moved into the neighborhood surcease--how correct you are, sir.