I cut off my arm.
Numb from shoulder to hand, it didn’t hurt.
I used a coping saw to stop it wandering
and in the garden I burnt
the only budding branch.
Just to be sure, I severed the driveway
and stood over the ravine where the street
surged and boiled like a flooding river.
Later the charred branch made a stake
for a withered vine. The birds
pecked out the fruit but the stake
rooted in its own ashes,
sprouted and flowered, and I knew
my lost arm had come home
with a life I could not feel
but was my own.
Poem by Janet MacFayden
Janet MacFadyen is author of five poetry collections, with a new book forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Recent work appears in Scientific American, Naugatuck River Review, CALYX, Crannóg, Sweet, Osiris, The Blue Nib, Tiny Seed Journal, Q/A Poetry, Soul-Lit, and elsewhere. She has held a Fine Arts Work Center fellowship and a residency at Cill Rialiag, Ireland. She is managing editor of Slate Roof Press.