womb | words with elizabeth

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

only knows that it is familiar,
has

covered her with shame,

this fetal need, this

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

and

that it never leaves.

quietly gnaws its way
through her, and that

a mother is not formed
by labour, by

spilling blood, by

emptying.

sometimes there is no room
inside for anyone else, long
after

the cord is cut, the joy
grown old.

and

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

hoping for a place at the table, but

no,
like before.
and
like before,
no.

still,
she hopes,

never gives up.

what does that even mean,
she says.

give
up.

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
and
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
plate

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

and

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

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

tasted it once, maybe
twice before.

she remembers.

she was made for all of this.

knows,

she is allowed to hold out her hands,

cupped
with thirst,

cupped
with hunger.

made for eating love.

nothing else.

knows,

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.
{Unsplash}.

2 thoughts on “womb | words with elizabeth

  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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