The Apple Trees Do Not Produce This Year

by Victoria Shelander
I am made barren as a host. 

Serrated sword scrapes my young womb, 
while two apple trees stand to my right, 

just beyond the windowsill. Hollow and aching, 
they feel like brown rice spilling out of my tilted hand. 

I ask them how to carry, 
but they tell me about losing instead. 

They have both held the progeny of predators before. 
Feeling like slivers of glass piercing and never enough air, 

the seeds in my belly begin consuming me. 
How deeply trauma tears into the fabric of a child. 

In preparation for what comes next, 
the two translate the sharpness of after as it relates to before,

creating a crevasse so profound 
that it breaks me in two. 

About the author

Victoria Shelander is a queer writer and visual artist living in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her work draws inspiration from how we experience our senses and how those experiences interact with the human condition. Her background in neuroscience and psychology influences her unique perspective. When Victoria is not writing, she works to help others heal through creative expression. You can visit her online at or via Instagram @cviitaro.

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Leap Year

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