Earth: a gypsum quarry, now a placid lake,
crystals too small for my calcite spine
clay hardened into geometric support
watered, a turtle turned on its back.
Gold: cold against half-healed wounds,
pure chastity, a nostrum plate,
keeps itself aloof and shiny
such bracing isolation.
Now, when I pass a magnet,
say in an industrial museum, or one
dedicated to the navigation of ships,
I feel the iron, my blood fired
aligned, arranged, a field of compass points
on waves of needling influences,
elemental dance deep in my history
alchemical weddings beyond my pleasure
plaster brace, gold, steel and copper bands,
oh, touch me now, remember,
open up, noble ones, infiltrate,
pain cut to me like mercurial clothes.
Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community artist and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan. A poem of hers is part of a collaborative videowork: check it out on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCU1MHyRFC4