Post-mortem – Sarah Doyle


Place the steel of your scalpel – here –
in the hollow of my throat. You will
encounter resistance. So many words
caught there, the viscosity of my uvula:
layers of things unsaid, choked back.

And you thought I was thin-skinned.

Press – hard – and draw your blade
downwards, navigating my clavicles,
down, through the cleft between my
breasts, bisecting my midriff, towards
navel, that tiny pothole; down further,
through belly, to the privacy of pubis.

Do you see the beads of blood, fine as
seeds, like miniscule rubies on a wire?

Prise me open. The butterflies in my
stomach won’t hurt you: they atrophied
years ago, ruined gossamer balled tightly,
colours no longer discernible. I will
spread like wings for you. I am all ribs.

Dig your fingers underneath – deep.
Now this is archaeology. Unearth
my heart from its excavated cavity.

Slick as a new-born, see the heart glisten
weightily in your slippery palms. It wasn’t
on my sleeve after all. Keep it. It was yours
anyway, and I have no need of it anymore.

Sarah Doyle is widely placed and published, with a pamphlet of collage poems inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals – Something so wild and new in this feeling – due from V. Press in spring 2021. She is currently researching a PhD in meteorological poetry at Birmingham City University. Twitter: @PoetSarahDoyle. Website:  

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