the tree and your feeling
— ottavia paluch

Day breaks on your knee

like a scab hard-earned

when you fell into the grass

like a lilac that learned how to float.

You kiss the dew out of the air

and wait for nothing more than change.

The bare oak in the backyard

caught its own broken branch

instead of letting it


into burgundy soil,


on the supple earth below.

Speaking the tongue of your mother’s,

you remark that

it is not easy to forget a language

But the one we spoke made lips chapped

and pronunciation insufficient.

And still, you murmur sweet things as if the outside

and its wind of knives and hints of fluorescence

never parted you.

Can you still see the flowers

among these nests of bone?

Where is the quiet girl in the thin, fine shadow,

her eyes as white

as pale-fleshed moons?

The one that orbits the trunk

of our tree as if it was a planet or even

a sun?

And it is for these reasons,

these questions,

that your name

clatters out of this life like the judge’s

gavel. An end that is

innocent, safe.


Ottavia Paluch is currently fourteen years old and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys watching hockey, scrolling through Twitter, and trying to look intellectual by listening to Radiohead, U2 and other lovely alternative rock bands. Her work is forthcoming in Body Without Organs.