Tomography by Joanna Lilley

Poem title: Tomography
Poet name: Joanna Lilley
Poem: I saw the geography of my brain today,
slid my eyes across glaciers,
folds of monochromatic floes, 
the white of air or bone,
looking for the detonator. 
Scrolling through eye sockets,
ear caves, a thick white cornice
of skull. Such flimsy vertebrae.
I reverse my apprehension: a bleed
would be white not black.

Walking back to work across
the ice-edged, straitened river, 
a dark, swift flow to die for,
my windward cheekbone aches
in minus thirty chill. I like
the winter shrink of wayward
vessels, the restrictive fit 
of the child-sized hat I bought
deliberately. I never saw inside
my mother’s head. I scanned
her eyes instead to see 
the aftermath, the endless blue
always above the weather.
End of poem.
Credits and bio: Copyright © Joanna Lilley 
Previously published in IceFloe Press website (2020). 
Joanna Lilley lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, with gratitude on the Traditional Territories of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. Her latest poetry book, Endlings, won the Fred Kerner Book Award; her first poetry book, The Fleece Era, was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry; and her novel Worry Stones was longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award. The author of five books, Joanna has a master’s degree in creative writing from the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow and a postgraduate certificate in creative writing from the Humber School for Writers. Joanna loves sharing the joy of words and has given readings and workshops as far afield as Alaska and Iceland. In 2021, she received Commissioner of Yukon’s Borealis Prize for literary contribution. Find Joanna online at