The Barren Tree

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

By, Wendiann Alfieri

Her mother was making dinner

Her father outside by the pool

Her mouth was talking loudly

As she gossiped on the phone about school

Her lips were smacking together

After a layer of chapstick she applied

When her mother shouted, “ Dinner!”

And she headed for inside

Her dad was eating string beans

Her mother with a glass of wine

As they ask their daughter if she likes dinner

And she replies “ Fine”

Her mother looks at her father

As he cautiously asks about her day at school

When she snaps back

“ What’s the matter? As far as I’m concerned this isn’t school”

Her mother speaks up loudly

And more determined now

To ask her about Jason

And how she turned him down

Their daughters eyes flashed

With rage and envy

A flame of ugly green

“ how do you know about that? I did what I had to do. That asshole had it coming. He’s too stupid to be in school”

Her mother snaps that’s not how she raised her

To videotape her friend dumping water on his head

While she pretended she liked him

And all the school laughed at his expense

“ mom who cares, he was annoying and cruel. He totally ignored my friend when she said hi to him in middle school”

Her mother says that’s not the point and don’t try to make an excuse

The video had been online

Before being taken down

by now all of the school knew

The daughters eyes turned downward in a brief look of shame

she got angry

Because of course herself she thought

Was not the one to be blamed

“ Mom that boy is disgusting, of whom I will never again speak. In fact I’m done with this conversation,”

And she got up to leave

Her father shouted after her

That to her mom she should not speak that way

And her mother said “ Jim, leave it. I wish she knew what it would be like just to not be able to chat,”

Her father agreed

And went back to his green beans

And the mother was thinking as she sat.

A sip of wine was needed

And she picked up her glass

Yes tomorrow her daughter will know

That she’s not going to let her be a bully

She didn’t raise her like that

As the mother cleaned the dishes

the father was helping too

The mother continued to think

Then knew what she had to do

The next day the daughter rose

From a dream so weird and daft

She got up to use the bathroom brush her teeth and comb her hair

When her lips had gotten stuck together

opening them wasn’t an option

she looked at the mirror and saw

She couldn’t speak or open them at all

she tried to cry out she saw

The more she tried and clawed

Her lips were stuck together

even her throat felt raw

She ran downstairs for breakfast

And saw no one was there

No chairs pulled out or even a smell

Of breakfast in the air

She felt so thirsty and turned on the tap

ran her lips under it

She tried opening her mouth to drink

still had no luck

She grabbed her bag and caught the bus

sat in the front this day

Yelling at kids from the back

She Could not be in that position today

Until her friend came on the bus

though she looked away

The friend had noticed her

And smiled and said “ Hey!”

Of course the girl couldn’t answer

Her voice she just had lost

her friend knew no better

assumed she was just in a mood

more and more people on the bus questioned

The lack of voice and taunts

From the most popular girl in school

they bustled off the bus and rushed into school

The girl regretted going

On the bus today

She wanted to stay

the driver wouldn’t allow it

They had places to drive and be

So off the Queen went

To try not to be shamed from her throne

she walked the halls

people saw

Her sharp tongue had been lost

Her lovely friends and enemies

Turned on her quick and showed

they made fun of her all day

Realizing they could tear her down they did

No matter how popular she was

She learned as the day wore on

All her friends are vultures

Just Waiting to pick her apart

to have their revenge set

No matter if they broke the Queens Heart

She couldn’t say anything mean to them

So now for her role they could start

It was mostly whispers in the hall

About how she was never a good human at all

All yesterday when people laughed at her target with her

Today they were laughing at her

Sharp words like knives

She wished they would open her lips

No matter the blood they would spill

When lunch came around she sat alone

A heartless character on a broken throne

When her best friend stood up to say

Today was the day she would ditch her away

Her best friend was fueled with anger

Because now the queen couldn’t speak

She could let the queen know

The hate will no longer in her veins sleep

Her friend was laughing and saying how low she was worth

the queens harmful words could no longer hurt

So the queens so called friend pushed her in a corner

called the queen a bitch

even tho they were victims of the queens rage

They still had no issue

With competing for her stage

in her eye the friend then socked her

When another girl in the corner

Small and really meek

Stood up from her table

in front of the queen she walked

Before any other punches were thrown

As the friends who turned their backs on the queen

Saw this girl and started to giggle

About how look queen, your defender is a laugh

Until a girl outside the cafe walked in and now joined

The small and meek girl

Standing in front of a fallen queen

Who had put them through shit

they knew if they didn’t do something

They couldn’t live with it

As another two people stood up and defended the queen in her literal corner

one boy came over and saw her bleeding eye

he asked her if she was alright

The fallen queens old friends

They were ready to fight and enjoy being the torturers

Till the boy Jason stood up and walked over as the girls laughed

Pathetic they said, also to Jason

As he and the group

Of the queens victims

Helped escort her out

Their faces like stone

They’d always been cast out

And to the nurse they went

Even though followed by laughter hoots and shouts

The queen was still bleeding

she still could not use her mouth

They assumed that she was too embarrassed to be grateful

that was far from true

Some people can be saved but still be cowards in a moment or two

no matter what she tried to do

She couldn’t speak up to them

And thank them for what they did

The nurse patched up her eye

And the girl went home

Crying on her bed

alone she could open her mouth

to pity herself

When her parents came from work and started to make dinner

The mother wondered

About her plan

And as they all sat down

The mom looked concerned

And saw her daughters eye that was hurt

the mother was confused

Her plan had been yet put in action

Until the doorbell rang and in walked Jason

With a flower in his hand

This was the mother’s plan

She knew her daughter was a bully

she’d also seen

All the writings of her daughters dreams

She loved this boy as they used to be friends

Until the queen met and rose

Above with fake friends

And the mother had told her daughter and tried several times

Telling her she needs to close her mouth and open her eyes

Her daughter was cruel

Even though she was raised right

Some people in this world could still be mean and would fight with it

Pushing others away

The mother knew

She had been the same way

Jason walked in the queen opened her mouth

And continued crying like before

Just as loud

Her mouth was open and now realizing her mistakes, she felt overwhelmed with shame

earlier those tears were self pity rain

she was still human

And wasn’t all stone

As the candle on the table melted

She relinquished all of her old thrones

And jumped up and hugged this boy

She missed him and held him

And also felt joy and of course guilt

As the boy sat down

And the mother was concerned

About her daughters eye

Her daughter sat and was thinking

Maybe her life didn’t have to keep sinking

Jealousy and envy and power corrupts

after the dam is broken

It lets out the love

She told her mom all that had happened

And that she was sorry

And always had been

And her and Jason talked through the night

And the next day they started dating

And he was the light of her life

And after seven years of being together

The queen contacted her old friend

It was time to grow up and make amends

After hours of tears and pleas of forgiveness

She got to know the layers of the friend she had only known

Through layers of jealousy and anger between them two from the past

They set things aside

a true friendship founded

The queen had forgiven herself

hoped others had as well

But sometimes even after you’ve fixed your fate

Karma can arise

A little too late

the queen and Jason married

had three children of their own

Jason and the queens friend

stabbed the queen without care

As the queen found out about their affair

Things change and they don’t

Some workout

Some won’t

bitterness sometimes leaves seeds

For old hatred and hurt grows the barren tree

Just empty branches

stubborn roots

The barren tree though it has nothing to hide

Resentment still stays inside


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