When you ask yourself that critical question,
just after your skin is marked,
Is it the granite dome’s fault for drawing forked lightning?
Is it the redwood’s fault it makes a lovely bookcase after the saw chews it?
Is it the coral’s fault it must bear the ocean’s ceaseless cold pounding?
Is the leaf to blame that autumn arrives unfalteringly, yearly,
to rip its brittle carcass to the ground
where it awaits even further punishment from snow?
And, most importantly, ask this:
Is it not to the leaf’s credit
that it struggles to unfold again each and every mild spring?
**If you have your own poem, short story, song, artwork, or other creative outlet that expresses your own experience with child abuse, please feel free to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to post guest authors and artists!