when my edges gave way to the wind By Kaitlyn Gaffney

when my edges gave way to the wind

during hurricane sandy, the tree my parents planted
in my front yard splits perfectly in half from wind. one
half lay severed and limp, turning the tree into an L, or
a sad mailbox left open in the rain. i am sad like the

tree. through gentle care, however, the small thing is
saved, the peeled half hauled off and forgotten and
the live bark enveloping the raw edge like a mother
hugging a blanket around an ill child. i leave for college

and forget about splitting in half / recovery, and
how so often they feel like the same thing. so when he
severs my torso in half with hurricane fingers, leaving my
edges serrated and raw, i am not prepared to save

myself. he forgets he left his blood on my shards –
they lodged themselves under my skin as he blew,
howling, through my diaphragm, leaving me short of
breath. i have long forgotten how to haul the peeled mess

of myself, lying limp at my feet, from the scene
that feels more disaster than natural. i have forgotten
that in time, healing / numbing envelops our jagged
edges whether we realize it or not, meaning to make us

feel like home again. but i remember to ask my parents’
tree if it felt the shearing, the laceration – the halving of
self. if it hurt / if it bled. how long its rawness was left
to be whipped in the wind – if it could smell its jagged

bark rotting in the gusting air. by the time i return home
the tree has grown taller / stronger, and it reminds me
that if not for the halving, if not for the healing – it
would not have a concept of time. i remember that i

only have a concept of time when it drags on too painfully
to bear, when his superstorm grip has locked itself like a
jaw onto my roots and i am forced to drag on regardless.
i remind myself that i am now stronger like the tree, and

my skin has entwined itself over my edges like a bark. i am
content like the tree. but i cannot help but ask the tree if
my edges, jagged and bleeding, have grown with me or
if they are still there, sharp and dormant, awaiting his return.

By Kaitlyn Gaffney

Biography:

Kaitlyn Gaffney is a North Jersey poet and a dual major in Writing Arts & English at Rowan University. She is the author of a poetry chapbook called Four Eulogies and has produced two original plays through Rowan. In her free time, she likes to listen to heavy metal, play music, and yell about intersectional feminism.

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