The splinters of the branch slid into my fingers
as it snapped at the force of my hand as I tumbled into the tree.
Blood beaded down the bark and caught on the tip of a serrated leaf.
The red mirror showed
how little I’d changed
despite being shoved out of line, convinced my place was over here, not there.
My hair was ruffled, but still mine.
My clothes were covered in cobwebs and lichen, but still mine.
My eyes were wet and open, but still mine.
The blood dripped from the leaf and was instantly swallowed by the soil.
I stood up.