Every child starts with a splinter:
Some pricker-bush snags a finger and embeds deep.
It is a seed - virus-like, it spreads through the blood
And latches itself in the chest
Wrapping and sleeping
Until each day it's fed and grows.
Some shed the thorns, shaking free
Like burrs from a heavy coat
Some scrape and bite them away
Like stubborn ticks.
Some of us hide the brambles inside
Letting them grow
Hoping by pushing them aside they'll die on their own.
Without the comforting blooms.
But years of growth and they twine inside
Pressing and gouging
Raggedly tearing through our hides and
One day the skin weakens and they burst through.
Pressure erupts the twisting vines and raking hooks,
Distress - long-clamped - spills through.
At last, a way to return the gift
And grasp, embraced
In a thousand piercing talons.
Some vent art. Watercolor, 11X14 inches