Whitby Writers Group

a self-help writers co-operative

To the Girl with the Face Transplant


“I did not realise how extreme it was
until I felt my face with my own hands
and I realised how much was missing.”
You said you did the deed on impulse.
But life hung on:
the only thing to vanish was your face.

Crossed in love, you tried to flee the world
but love, a mother’s love, has called you back.
Needs satisfied are often needs unfelt:
you felt no need to go on with your life
but nine parts gone
you felt the need to hang on to the rest.

In countries which confer a certain honour
on what the Germans choose to call “self-murder”
you have to ask your family’s permission
before you are allowed to do seppuku.
If denied
I guess it’s seen as some sort of admission

he values you and needs you, if it’s just
to wash his socks and fetch his children home.
The countless daily chores and services
which, lacking, he is not prepared to live.
Swedes call it the “life-lie”:
the lie you tell yourself to go on living.

Now once again you learn to do the things
you did so well when knocking on 18.
To learn to speak with someone else’s lips
To face the world with someone else’s face
when in those days
you simply couldn’t face it with your own.

Ian Clark
October 2018

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