Poem: Every war has a first bullet. Every bullet can be buried deep inside a meadow.

the first time someone calls me fat, throws the word at me sharp and sure of its target.

only a small stone at first.

laughter fills the bus.

i am five years old.

i know so many things.

that books are my friends, that green is my favourite colour, that i really hate green beans, that outside is safer than inside.


i do not know what to do with this thing, the weight of it seems to grow, it breathes, climbs right on top of me, follows me


never leaves.

it tries to live with me until death do us part, but later

i look death right in the eye, twice.

and i live.

and i learn to fight a hundred battles by lunchtime.

i say to myself

my odd eyes, too-big nose, too keen smile.

i say, look at you!

here you are eating happiness in the middle of the day, not caring about the mess.

there is no thinness to your life, your laugh is full-hipped and wild.

there are no bones to your joy, your hands are so full of everything beautiful.

just look at you.

— every war has a first bullet. every bullet can be buried deep inside a meadow.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Fuu Ju


A naked poem about bullets and wars and things that won’t leave, but shrink the more you eat happiness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s