Julia McNamara

Julia McNamara is an emerging writer and poet from southern Ireland who received her BA in English and Psychology from University College, Cork. When she isn’t writing she is applying make-up as a form of inexpensive therapy/temporary disguise, while ruminating on where it all went wrong. Her favourite whiskey is Jameson. @JuliaMcNamara_x


After seven months I
Tricked myself into glancing
At the ugly red scar stretching
Garishly across my lower pelvis
It’s sly half smile mocking my
Body dysmorphia –
I brought the tips of my
Fingers to meet the scarlet trench,
To trace its route from left to right,
Imagined the thin sharp blade the
Doctors had used to rescue
My child
From a body betraying her as
Well as me –
The morning she was born I’d
Gotten out of bed and bled a
River – she was pulled from
A wreckage, saved from the sinking
Ship of mother.
It took them 40 minutes to hook
A mast of pain relief to my flesh –
My womb became a shoal,
She the ancient treasure
Waiting for the knife
The clear, clean cut.
The monumental opening up.

For 10 years I ate

Nothing but words and as the flesh sank back
From my bones, the fat of the words built up on my soul
A heavy insulation.
They warned me if I kept eating words and nothing
But words, I would die – but you can only die
Once and I was not yet a ghost.
Still more words I ate, taken in by my eyes, caught in the
Teeth of my heart, digested by the acid
Of my longing.
Sweet, salty, sour words the stomach failed
To recognise. I nearly died because I refused
To believe words
Were not enough. For 10 years I ate nothing but
words, for 10 years words ate nothing but me.
I hold no resentment,
I’m finally free.
I tried to steal away from
The world through the secret
Passageway of words –
Words wouldn’t let me go,
They needed me here,
They loved me


Somewhere far away I am
a skeleton.
stalking the earth in glorious
marvelling at the beauty
of sunken eyes in dark
swaddling perfect shiny
bones in layers
of cloth flesh picked off
one by one
at nightfall,
suckling larva plucked from
the carcass of a rotting fruit.
Somewhere far away I am
a skeleton
stalking the earth
in hollow victory,
Feasting on the beauty
of buxom bodies bathing
in the honey of their own
sweet casing,
missing the life
I could have lived.

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