Christine Klocek-Lim



I knew as soon as the chainsaw slipped,
as soon as the tree fell groaning to the wrong side,
everything would be different.
Your fragile smile calmed me
though my hand’s bones lay naked
and messy like broken sticks on a red floor.
The sunlight hit the wound but didn’t hurt
so I sat very still, as if for a photograph:
a portrait of the one precious moment
that changes everything.

When the tourniquet finally
cut its crease in my arm,
I grabbed you and crushed the orchid
I’d tucked in your hair.

Your little nephew laughed the way children do.
He thought us funny,
you with flower askew,
me with my lips in your lap—
blood everywhere like spilt jam at a picnic.
Your sister shushed him while tears
splintered her face,
and suddenly the world
had lots of cold leaves
flying about
and I knew you’d catch me
if I let go.