The splinter will work its way
through your veins, so they say,
so they say, will swim and crawl
until it pierces your heart’s wall
and spreads a vile poison there or,
to hear the schoolyard’s whispered terror,
will sprout and bloom beneath your skin
and breach and brack and show within
the wood, the sap, the leafy things,
and as you lay, felled;
they’ll count your rings.

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