Nature’s Course

A Poem

Lindsey Kawela Kim

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I wrote this poem in 2021; six years after my cheerleading injury, three spinal surgeries later. I wrote this to honor the 21 year-old girl who was devastated by her scars.

After my first surgery, I felt marred and mangled. I’d obsess over the “train track” scars developing along my incision caused by crude staples. I didn’t think I valued having an untouched or beautiful back (whatever that means) until it became a scene from a horror film. Then I mourned and became self-conscious.

Upon becoming re-injured a few months later, surgery became urgently necessary (again). My life was consumed by opioids and pain, so I had no energy left to worry about little things like aesthetic. I am now eight years and four surgeries out from my original injury, and my relationship with my scars has seen many iterations. It’s a work in progress and small things like this poem (and photoshoot) help me to heal that relationship.

Image description: A close-up shot of a woman’s back. She has a surgery scar on her lower spinal region and a lotus tattoo above it. There is rain dripping down her back. The poem reads:

“i wanted my scar to heal uniformly.
but nature has her own designs,
her own plans.

i want to walk without help
and for days on end.
i know i can get there.

(and if i do not
that is alright too.)

time flows,
change moves us.
there is beauty throughout.

-nature’s course”

thank you for reading ❤

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Lindsey Kawela Kim

A mixed Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) with a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) for chronic pain. No Oʻahu mai au. Noho au ma Duwamish Land.