Of Felled and Fallen

This piece contains references to self-harm.

of Felled and Fallen by Anonymous - photo by Zoe Oppenheimer

Have you ever been asked an impossible question?
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
I have.
If a sound is made, does it exist after subsiding?
Physics class, Junior year; I reached for my pencil.
Nothing exists after subsiding.
She jokingly inquired about my wrist’s jagged marks.
If no one heard it, did the tree even fall?
After all, they couldn’t really have been from—
Cutting trees fills the ears of those wielding saws.
Secretly, I wanted someone to notice,
But trees that fall alone make no sound
Wanted someone to realize,
Because that which is not realized is not real.
But she did not realize, she satirized.
The tree tipped.
It’s not her fault; how could she have known?
No one was there to watch it fall.
She had only seen me smile,
No one was there to hear it crash.
So I laughed off her joke,
The solitude muffles its sound,
I have a good life.
The crash is smothered by silence,
Why would I carve it open?
All disruptions subside.
I wouldn’t. It was my cat.
The forest is a sea of green;
Three times parallel,
It expands infinitely in every direction.
A few pale scars over—
Veins of vines decorate stumps,
Three dull lines like stairs up my arm
And there are so many trees in the forest.
Because cats’ claws are precise.
It’s almost like the one never fell.
My story made sense in a way,
So it didn’t.
Reality was too absurd to be real.
The forest is filled with trees that never fell.
So it wasn’t.
Their silence bleeds, scars over, and fades.

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Accompanying photo: “Unfocused” by Zoe Oppenheimer