The winter trees retreat into sharp Nothing with their
pitchforks & puncture the bruise-backed mountains.
She carved our initials thick into a grey branch,
pale green letters glowing in a tree,
mapled blood sapping her arm.
Her cough sounded like a thin bark.
Sometimes I want to burst out of my skin,
she told me. Just cut myself
out, like a paper doll. I held my breath.
Or I’ll emerge like Athena fully-formed in armor.
A laugh ripped out of her ribcage.
The winter trees drape their cloaks over the sun.
Violet light drenches the cruel & crimson sky,
revealing birchwhite bones for blackbirds to perch,
several severed limbs with glued knobby knots,
and half-exposed roots like ringless blueing fingers.
She stretches her stiff joints, curls beside a cold knife
and regards her flat Image when the blood does not come.
Somewhere spring churns seeds in the secret dirt, invisible:
mapled blood spilling from her arm,
scarred letters fading on my tree.
< Karissa Satchwell
Lily Dawn >