The Flesh Is Weak
Margaret Stawowy

He thought I didn’t know about the catalogs
under the bed, in closets, hanging out the underwear drawer.
I would page through them when he wasn’t at home.
Though strange, it seemed harmless at first
so I said nothing.
Synthetic colors, cheap plastic, outrageous proportions, bargain prices. . .
Then one day he came home with a plastic finger.
Of course I mentioned it.
He said I was just imagining things.
But when an ear and toe followed
I had to call him on it.
The scene was not pretty.
It was actually all my fault, he said.
I drove him to plastic.
There was nothing wrong with plastic anyhow.
Everybody said so.
What was wrong with me that I couldn’t handle a little plastic in him.
Well, he was right, I thought.
Everywhere you turn these days, plastic.
I would just have to get used to it.
But before long he was stinking of vinyl
and I had to admit
that flesh and blood
were requirements
for this body and soul.

Margaret Stawowy was a resident of Japan for eight years where she taught English conversation and co-founded a writing group. In her present incarnation in the U.S., she works as a librarian and volunteer letter-writer for Amnesty International.