Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature


Medical Journals (a triad of poems) by Kristin Roedell

Surgical Valentine

Speak from your heart,
my father is listening
his silver instruments
as sensitive
as a lover's ear--

Open, be opened,
like a bride,
to his most tender touch.

His tiny stitches,
his lover's hands,
and you, like a red rose,
scattering crimson petals all about.
He ties within you a lover's knot,
he leaves so gently,
that you may be healed if you wish.
you may feel loved if you wish.
You may let his touch return to you,
in a lover's circle.


On Sunday, in spring,
I dug up a bush too close to the fence
roots thick at first, then feathery.

I planted it deep,
blooms burst already.

Monday's design is as simple as Sunday's;
take a living thing,
dying where planted,
and give it new purchase.

Link veins like roots,
both thick and feathery,
and lay them deep--
blood blossoming.

Close the hole.

Hope for summer.

Open, Heart

Through my husband,
in whose hands I am tenderly
unfolded and changed,
I have unmasked and ungowned
my first love.
Through him,
I will be mended.
I can be touched.
I will remember how,
my father once held me.
Gently, with love,
reverse, unstitch,
make undone, let bleed,

Kristin Roedell is a wife, mother, and retired attorney residing in Lakewood, Washington. She has been writing poetry for about a year, and is currently working on a poetry portfolio for application to a Masters in Fine Arts program. She is bipolar, and cares for her bipolar teen, who is also a writer.

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