womb | words with elizabeth

she tells me how she knocks on doors,
for a thing that she cannot

only knows that it is familiar,

covered her with shame,

this fetal need, this

hand-me-down pain
from all the women before,


that it never leaves.

quietly gnaws its way
through her, and that

a mother is not formed
by labour, by

spilling blood, by


sometimes there is no room
inside for anyone else, long

the cord is cut, the joy
grown old.


standing there,
nine years old, she is (still)

hoping for a place at the table, but

like before.
like before,

she hopes,

never gives up.

what does that even mean,
she says.


she has wrapped herself
in steelwool, pulls it

over her shoulders

every day
for all the moments that run

into a life, but

at night
she sheds it, knows

in the dark, in the quiet

she must soften
breathe, or

else, she will walk
with the same limp, hold

the same barbed wire
in her mouth.

she hopes, she says

that it is ok to feel this as loss,

that it is ok to mourn
every empty

that was ever put before her.

knows, she was made for love.

made to be filled with it,
brimming over
until she groans with laughter


the fullness of it, sticking
to her heart, sticking
to her ribs,

all the roundness of it,
in her veins, she has

tasted it once, maybe
twice before.

she remembers.

she was made for all of this.


she is allowed to hold out her hands,

with thirst,

with hunger.

made for eating love.

nothing else.


there is a womb with her name on it, but it is not here.

— womb | words with elizabeth.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Serafima Lazarenko.

2 thoughts on “womb | words with elizabeth

Add yours

  1. Oh, Liezel, no words can say how this feels. But you found them! Your heart and soul are so connected with your pen and paper. I thank you 🙏🏼.

    Liked by 1 person

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