Petra Kuppers


It had foremothers, yes,
cradles an ancient history
drenched in veteran's blood, snake bite,
sepsis and the chlorophyll-rich juices of the healer.
But when I touch the steel wheel, I feel
that it grew as a silver plant
in a waterless waste, drew from a deep clear well,
a shoot pushed hard through the crust,
thrust past caked clay and grey rock.
With the effort of metal and bone,
the plant grasped the air, no resistance
pressed fast moving cells,
it arched up, spiraled back onto itself,
completed a circle that pushes far out,
forward, on and on:
my body, propelled by evergreen forces,
touches fire and earth, forge and flow,
my finger tight on the rim.
I know what I wish for:
below not only clouded blood,
clay clod, and the deep worm's coil,
below runs the clear, clean water

Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community artist and an Associate Professor of English, Theater and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. Her books include The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performances and Contemporary Art (Minnesota, 2007), Community Performance: An Introduction (Routledge, 2007) and Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge(Routledge, 2003). Currently, she's lovingly polishing her collection of disability culture poetry essays and has a great time fiddling with her first poetry collection.