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Sick Woman’s Self Portrait by Sara Tilley

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

In yellow lettering are the words Sick Woman's Self-Portrait. Below that text in white text it says Sara Tilley. The background is a photo image of a woman from the waist down sitting on a kitchen stool on a wood floor

I am the dead mouse perfect and stiff, no longer than your thumb.

I am the cat, satisfied with killing for its own sake.

I am not hungry for blood.

I am the sick woman waking up from a nap and remembering herself.

I am the doctor who smiles when she says it’s permanent.

I am the dead mouse, picked up with a spatula, knotted into a plastic bag.

I am the little white tent of plastic.

I am the landfill, its seagulls, the sunset, the neon signage, the young heterosexuals kissing in an automobile.

I am the grass not cut all summer, bent under its own weight.

I am silent and covered in fine hairs.

Pigeons form my halo. Halo equals crown. Crown digs into forehead where migraines appear.

I’d rather be a Rorschach test, or just an inkblot on white paper. A nematode, fixing nitrogen.

Paper shredder. King James Bible. Fish bones in the compost pile.


Sara Tilley’s work bridges writing, theatre, and Pochinko clown technique. She’s published two award-winning novels: Skin Room (Pedlar Press, 2008), and DUKE, (Pedlar Press, 2015), and has written, co-written or co-created twelve plays for the stage. She lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and identifies as cisgender, queer, Settler, intersectional feminist and chronically ill. Find her at, or on Twitter @TaraSilly.


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