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My Father Was a Surgeon

by Celia Meade



Some things have to come out,

he’d say, a sack full of stones

or the growth on your forehead

obscuring your sight.


But some things are better left

to carry until you die,

the bloodred liver, for instance,

overrun with flowering buds.


He kept that

pressed near his heart,

a thorny bush

spreading branches inside.


It stayed, in situ, with the rest,

his blighted knee, his hands,

his piercing intellect,

his untameable hair.


All of it burned

in the great fire,

and then we scattered him

among the roses.