after the scalpel.

for a few days


a surgeon takes a scalpel

to my body,

i am forced

to grow


i am not made for this.

i fight

to move

to stand up

to change my life

without needing any help.

there are mountains to climb

and a valley

to find my way out


it hurts.

they said it would



that i do not know how to give.

but every slow-gold afternoon

after we have had our lunch


after i have filled my pockets

with plans,

my son carries his pillow,



into my room

where he climbs

onto my bed,

curls up


into the roundness of my hip

the quiet place that

only he knows

as home.

i am this

to him.


his breath warm on my shoulder,

a whisper

…isn’t this nice, mom?

— after the scalpel.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photography by Annie Spratt.

7 thoughts on “after the scalpel.

  1. Your book arrived today! I have read as much as I can hold in a single reading. I have certainly read many genius poets including Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson, Ursula Le Guin and of course Maya Angelou to mention only a few. I have remarked to myself, or another, how worthy their pieces are of praise. But this first body of published poetry by you defies more words. Your work is so exact and so alive it vibrates with emotion and it would be superfluous to add more words even in praise. Your talent goes beyond artistry; it is destined. Pain that is transformed into courage, that is transformed into breathtaking beauty is its destiny. Brava,Leizel,Brava!

    Liked by 1 person

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