Growing Pains

by Matthew J. Andrews


(after Scott Erickson’s Seen)

I wake each morning to a heart stretched
past capacity, its music dulled
to a murmur as the walls thin,
and I cannot decide if this is progress.

I walk through the forest and read trauma
written all over its face: the scars
carved into every trunk, knife scores
rendering the bark into a flaky skin

that peels apart when grasped in the fingers.
For all their majesty, their muscular
arms displaying wreaths of green
and baskets of fruit, they have suffered

in their growth, though it’s not clear
whether the pain stems from its ambition,
the way it chases the warmth of the sun,
or the death grip of its roots anchored in the dirt.



Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer who lives in Modesto, California. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Orange Blossom Review, Funicular Magazine, Red Rock Review, ONE ART, Sojourners, Amethyst Review, Kissing Dynamite, and Deep Wild Journal, among others. He can be contacted at


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