The wound, I wish I didn’t have the wound,
manifesting like a burl on a tree.
As I have grown, it seems to have ballooned,
To me as broad as the leafed canopy.
My friend, it’s not an easy thing to hide,
but I know you, and how polite you are,
that even if I opened my inside
you’d pronounce me normal, but from afar.
But I’m not. And one day the weight of snow,
a soaking rain, or a strong gale-force blast,
or one feather more in a nest, or moon glow
will, at the hurt, defeat the tree at last.
And yet these misshapen outgrowths are prized
by craftsmen, sanded, shined and emphasized.
Geoffrey Smagacz is the author of A Waste of Shame and Other Sad Tales of the Appalachian Foothills, published by Wiseblood Press. The book won the 2014 Independent Publisher gold medal for Mid-Atlantic Best Regional Fiction. Several of Smagacz’s poems, as well as a short story, have previously appeared in Dappled Things.