By Tessa Stickland | @tessa_sticks
Illustration | Sarah Loo
Secateurs are the weapon of choice
In my haphazard attack on the garden
There is an invasive vine, leeching onto other plants,
I slice and tear it from its hosts
It bleeds milky white sap
Thick and gummy
A drop marks my jumper
The Good Vine is under foreign occupation,
But that doesn’t give it the right
To assault my disused trampoline.
With its sunshine yellow flowers
Don’t make me go easy on it.
It hangs off the garage, creating a walkway
Which I trim along as I
Walk and clip and walk and clip
And walk and my shoes clip-clop
I catch my reflection in a window
Blood is thinly smeared across my check
It’s origin: my palm.
They’re fighting back.
The conquering vine is up high
It clings tightly to a tree
Its older sections
Are thick, and dry, and have lost their colour
It has stretched itself
Across the plants by the side fence
I stretch my body to reach
Beads of sap
Lightly dot the tops of leaves below
White lays harshly on the green
The neighbour’s tree hangs
Over the back fence and into my yard
It is too close to the ground
I free it from the weight of its lower limbs
For its own good
Grass is covered in the debris of battle
Fresh wounds cover trees
Bark pulled back
Tender wood exposed
White blood of the hostile vine
Continues to leak
I wash my blades
Under the garden tap.
The metal is sticky
The sap looks a blue grey on the rust
It embraces my weapon,
Stubbornly, despite the pressure of the water.
I move in my fingers
They stroke the surface
And my thumb slips
I feel the metal under my skin
Chill water rushes over my hand
I look at the cut
There is nothing
I sigh in relief
But – then the blood oozes,
In brilliant red,
Before thinning and washing down the drain
I take my hand out of the water
It hasn’t stopped
It seeps down my hand,
Water and blood.
Drops stain my jumper
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