Two Poems

Poetry / Maggie Queeney


Queeney 2 Poems PDF

From the writer


:: Account ::

These two poems are reimag­in­ings of two of the myths in Ovid’s Meta­mor­phoses, a book-length poem that presents a series of mor­tals, most­ly women, who are trans­formed into non-human forms after an encounter with a God or God­dess. The divine encounter, and result­ing trans­for­ma­tion, almost always include sex­u­al vio­lence or gen­der-based vio­lence. I too am a sur­vivor of vio­lences (domes­tic, gen­der-based, and sex­u­al). I too have spent years as some­one or some­thing not quite human. Dr. Judith Her­man notes in her vital text about sur­vivors of domes­tic, gen­dered, and sex­u­al vio­lence, Trau­ma and Recov­ery: “vic­tim retains the dehu­man­ized iden­ti­ty of […] the robot, ani­mal, or veg­etable… While the major­i­ty of […] patients com­plained, ‘I am now a dif­fer­ent per­son,’ the most severe­ly harmed stat­ed sim­ply, “‘I am not a person.’”

Decades before I read Trau­ma and Recov­ery, before Com­plex-PTSD was a wide­ly-known and accept­ed term (although still not includ­ed in the newest Text Revi­sion of the DSM V, and so not includ­ed on any of my med­ical records), I read The Meta­mor­phoses. I, who from my ear­li­est mem­o­ry felt more rock than girl, more bird or riv­er or vine than human, rec­og­nized myself in these girls and women, and in the crea­tures and things they would become. Their sto­ries were my sto­ries, are my sto­ries, and in re-telling what hap­pened to them, in work­ing to speak in their voic­es, I tell what hap­pened to me. I sound the bounds of my voice, and find my place among the many of my kind. 

Mag­gie Queeney is the author of In Kind, win­ner of the 2022 Iowa Poet­ry Prize, and the chap­book set­tler. Recip­i­ent of the 2019 Stan­ley Kunitz Memo­r­i­al Prize, The Ruth Stone Schol­ar­ship, and an Indi­vid­ual Artists Pro­gram Grant from the City of Chica­go in 2019 and 2022, her most recent work is found or is forth­com­ing in Guer­ni­ca, The Mis­souri Review, and The Amer­i­can Poet­ry Review. She holds an MFA in Cre­ative Writ­ing from Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty, and reads and writes in Chicago.