When Jude came back to class
He did not talk about the accident.
His right arm, severed at the elbow,
Would move by reflex,
To his embarrassment and ours.
He would bend over, half turned, when he stood
For the Pledge of Allegiance, girls snickering.
But it was always there, his stub of an arm;
He could not hide it, and we hated him for it.
Jude would stand, a bush half pruned,
Blushing with an increased growth
And fruitfulness we could not see.
Our dead or overgrown branches scratched at him
Through a foliage so thick we could not breathe.

Nashotah, 2012. Read it in Curator Magazine.

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