in the aftermath of my faceplant the world sparkled and danced; summer had settled into cicada song and cloudless skies. trees dared me to climb them. fence tops were accessible high wires. hours barricaded within school schedules now flexed and flowed, adventures marked the days not homework, not chores. neighbours reported fleeting glimpses of a wildling tumbling through yards and hedgerows. sunburned and scampering, that was me, 5 minutes ago. somewhere off to my left the growing siren of my grandmother's distress uncoiled spinning both warning and woe. any movement sparked starbursts and pinlike nips up and down my neck. i considered the small bits of my teeth floating between gums and lip. some grains were odd puzzle pieces. others slid aimlessly and escaped down my throat. i was bleeding and worrying and hoping that the remaining weekend would not be spent indoors, recovering. the couch in the upstairs bedroom was not comfortable. and it's secret fold-out identity of broken springs and sinkholes now taunted me. my eyes locked on a swaying milkweed. the white tuft bursting out of the paisley cone seemed to be pink hued. obviously I had forgotten how to colour balance. fence balance too. years later my grandmother would recount that it was the dull thump that drew her out of her garden away from her onions and potatoes, instead of my wailing. the back door never closed right or tight and mystically it was somehow an auspicious invite to guests. and she never liked her neighbours. ironically, I’d argue instead, I never cried out and definitely did not remember hitting my head. I could taste and smell sweat, blood, and dirt. I was hurt, but also knew what it could mean for the remains of the day. and injury was only made more real by an elder's appraisal. co zrobiłeś?-what have you done? she’s talking to me. becoming undone. admonishing herself. crafting an alibi. premeditation, accusation, deference, and pretext defense, all sweating through the Polish equivalent of WTF just happened? I wiped the edge of my lip. the soft underparts of my tongue snagged a bit on something sharp. looking back there really is no maximum number that 5 year olds must answer for the line 'Haven’t I told you before?' or 'What happened this time?' but guaranteed the universe conspires against worried adults convincing them the importance of results over show. and that the best course of action when consoling a crying child is to ask ‘Didn’t I tell you though?’ my babcia- sturdy, strident, and imposing appeared at the patio's edge. she held a large knife and a grim grin to match. i had a sense that further injury would be dispatched and may be necessary in order to disentangle me from the brambly thatch. it was better that i tumbled left into the hedge, and then over the concrete wall, not right. lying beside it, holding my breath, eyes closed tight I was sure I’d disturbed the devil inside of that blue barrel. if I had even nudged the fly screen protecting the homemade raspberry babuni burping in the mid day sun my dziadek would have sensed it. summoning him from his work shed before dinner was dangerous. i know the old stories. i feared the old stories. the tales of anger and alcohol tempered by absolution and impunity were canon. the blade she held was preternaturally long. it was made to kill giants not chop dill. still it’s existence suggested something more mundane. that my babcia had been trimming the stems of 1000 tomatoes or cutting swathes of upholstery or stain scraping her plywood cutting board or cleaving meat for patyczki. her cat scratched bare arms and soiled apron were earned from earnest earthen work. I would be told later in life that the knife was a first purchase when they moved to Canada. it held the title of first born amongst other household tools, long before there was even a house to hold. it seems more likely it had been pulled from stone than a thrift store for a couple of bucks. it was forged to separate. the blade's purpose was inarguable. like how a sports car evokes speed even when standing still. dazedly i realized in relief that I had never seen my dziadek holding that knife. bądź cicho!- Be quiet! Then, just- Cicho! Chodź tu- come here! my brain could not, but my body somehow complied. enthralled i shuffled up before her stuffed with fear and tried to will myself to disappear. the knife upright and turned 90 degrees no longer posed the same threat to me. i could just barely see a murky slim sliver of my reflection above it’s wooden hilt. a hand clamped to the back of my head and tilted. the flat side of the blade pressed into my nose from tip to brow. I’d seen this same treatment of herbs and garlic on the chopping block. was this their pain too? my mom arrived in time to hear my cries- no babcia don't cut off my nose! I tried to get free my mom met her mom's eyes instantly she chose stillness over me and allowed the treatment to proceed. na obrzęk-for the swelling. she nodded and so did my mom. I sobbed. she checked my eyes, then over her right shoulder at the work shed. my bruised brow slowly forgot it’s trauma. somehow the cool pressure released the weekend from its carceral future. fear and relief fear and relief fear and relief- waves that I somehow craved, washed over my face. the snide pull out couch's grip slowly faded from the afternoon. this was not my first lesson in bottom cupboard first aid. honey and onion for a sore throat. brandy for colds. for an upset stomach, coke. cabbage for sprains. magic remedies for needless injuries and imagined pain I seemed to inflict regularly on myself.