you watch the old oak tree split
under the punch of lightning.
The greedy tongue of rain licks
the cracked limbs white like bones.
Your dad’s truck already trundled away,
evanesce in the murkiness, beyond your
strained sight. Your mom cries on the floor
and curses about her marriage,
her face sallow in the dim light.
Cocooned in your posh blanket,
you still feel cold, like a leaf trampled
in the storm. A small voice inside you
falters into heavy breathing, then
swells into waves that threaten to bury you.
Everything is temporary—a lesson
you have to learn. When daybreak comes,
the broken tree may turn into a scar on the dirt,
as you seal yourself into the shell
that holds you intact.
Allison Xu is a young writer from Rockville, Maryland. Her poems and short stories have been published or are forthcoming in Blue Marble Review, Unbroken, Paper Lanterns, The Daphne Review, Bourgeon Magazine, Secret Attic, and elsewhere. She is currently serving as a senior editor for Polyphony Lit.