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Saturday book feature — under a wanton magnolia: poems — Maggie Stetler


…bardo is a…juncture when the possibility of liberation, or
enlightenment, is heightened. —The Tibetan Book of living & Dying

You answer your cell.
Not at home, where are you?

I’m in Arizona, in a room
surrounded by hummingbirds.

I hear you smiling. A ruby-throated
zips by, buzzing, humming.

In Virginia, crows caw, cricket
sounds cease, signaling the end.

In Texas she’s dying. Will
you help me send Reiki?

I’ve tried to cup her in my hand,
visualize her spirit, and chant,

“Go out the top so you won’t
have to come back again!”

But I don’t know the distant healing
symbol. Will you show me?

You don’t need it. Focus on
your love and intent.

I pray for the Buddha in me to
reach out to the Buddha in her.

But how can I —can she—love
a self swarming with cells that

don’t know how to die?
We are all dying. Eagle, fox,

manatee, primrose, plover.
Lady cat’s tumor burst, she stayed

a while, eye to my eye, then twice
a gentle cough, a burst of breath,

legs swimming and goodbye.
In this between time, I’ve fallen

into a nest of demons, caved
in to the illusion that horns and

howling, grasping hands are real.
But you — you — are in a room,

surrounded by hummingbirds.
And inside the clamor, under

the web of tears, in the turning
of flesh to dust, I’m saved

by a tiny heartbeat, a flame
of iridescent red and

emerald green; standstill
wings whirring.

by Maggie (Margaret) Stetler from under a wanton magnolia: poems (Finishing Line Press 2018)

Cover Art: Margaret Stetler & Peter Stetler
Cover Design: Elzabeth Maines McCleavy

Buy Links: https://www.amazon.com/Under-Wanton-Magnolia-Maggie-Stetler/dp/1635344727


One response to “Saturday book feature — under a wanton magnolia: poems — Maggie Stetler”

  1. Janice D. Soderling Avatar

    Nice to see this book by Maggie chosen today.

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