Fibrosis n: the thickening and scarring of connective tissue, usually after an injury

If you graft orange buds onto a lemon tree,
they grow together – a salad tree of
sharpness and sugar – or the bud dies.
Connecting two incompatible things is
harder than you would think – the body
knows this; the trees told me the same.
Maybe while I slept, a tree was grafted
onto me. My rootstock rots; Necrotic
buds flower from my heel. Sometimes
lightening splits a tree hollow like a
cave, but it still grows spindly branches.
Nobody told it it was broken or maybe it
always knew. Both are possible – hollow
things grow strangely. And yet we grow.
Trauma changes our genetic sequence. I
am fibrosed. My muscles become
woody. Trees grow thicker year on year.
I thin. But I have roots. My legs are trees,
leech nutrients? No. Drain poison. The
puckering sharpness of crabapple before
it’s boiled with endless sugar. Sour fruit
brings a longer harvest, grafted to an
apple tree, but do not try to eat them
whole. The cold splinters my branches,
cracks appear in my skin. I swapped
transient legs for permanent bark. A tree
doesn’t travel. It doesn’t need to; it knows
the forest, sends signals beneath th
floor. Swaps breadth for depth. Trees
whisper at night. People don’t notice. I’ve
been blessed with ears that hear voices
that others don’t. Or do they miss voices
that others hear? The grafted tree is
neither one nor another; nor is it both
Maybe I just dreamed I was a tree. But I
store carbon dioxide at night. Or I did.

The machine breathes for me now.