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Geni's Tree Better Not be a Metaphor for Cancer and My Body

Jennifer Schomburg Kanke

When I started walking after,

as suggested by my doctors,

some days I couldn’t make it down there

to their house right at the corner

with the trumpet vines and the azaleas

with the creepers climbing sunward

up the trunk of the tall slash pine

right outside their chainlink fencing.

How I wanted to pull it downward.

Yank its tendrils with one motion

beautiful, fluid, and triumphant.

Me the savior of the poor tree,

Me the one setting its branches free.

Fear no more the coming shadows!

Fear no more the gale force storm winds!

But the bark and vines were mated,

removing one would take the other

leave the tree a borer’s delight,

leave the tree all naked soft wood.

So, I left it growing skyward,

didn't ask for its forgiveness.



Jennifer Schomburg Kanke’s work has appeared in New Ohio Review, Massachusetts Review, Shenandoah and Salamander. She recently won the Sheila-Na-Gig Editions Editor’s Choice Award for Fiction. Her zine about undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, Fine, Considering, is available from Rinky Dink Press. She serves as a reader for The Dodge.

Image Credit: Emma Grey Rose, "Through The Dark Trees"

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