i didn’t know before

Yasmina Jaksic

but when a tree topples onto another
its corpse is absorbed by the other. slowly—there is a liminal period before the melding. 
for some time they are caught in the receiving: limbs shrouding, webbing, nesting,

the deceased nourishes the beholden, together forming a new being—
large, lumpy trunked beast, spine arched, chest concaved.
a tree gives way to another tree and suddenly there is only one and 
the dead space beside it, 
the dead space inside it.

i didn’t know that trees get heart disease. fungal decay tunnels through the center of the trunk,
the arteries of the limbs. heart rot leaves them prone to breakage, toppling, and collateral

a lumberjack’s nightmare, an investment shimmying down the drain. the infection is slow and

you cannot grow faster than you can rot. 

healthy individuals combat heart rot through compartmentalization. necessary nutrients build
health from the inside out: 
water, comfortable temperatures, someone to whisper to you, someone to play you a gentle song,

to create an environment that promotes growth— 
the healthy can grow over wounds, prevent the worms from crawling through. 

i am all wound, 
all rot. 

but this is how i love you. i bend around the loss, its weight. inhaling the dust of your matter left
on the last christmas present you gave me, 8 days before your death. you—in a striped knit hat
running through the shutting subway doors, messenger bag with button pins swinging wildly at
your hip, bulldozing into me, collar bone smashing into chin. love makes two bodies into one. 

welcome worm, rot—

nothing from your body is abject. bark is the main defence against disease, but my skin is all scar
tissue—always the first to give. scars remember pain, reopen at its touch—