KATHERINE J. BARRETT
Oldtimers say you taste nice brined,
pale spring fingers chopped and jarred.
And once they plucked your brittle veins
for fall pea-shooters, pirate swords.
Now the canopy of your foliage
yields sweet relief in summer
Newcomers feed you vinegar and Roundup.
They say you tunnel under roads, tilt bridges,
evaporate a mortgage from a fifty yards.
Heavy machinery should do the trick,
backhoes or rented goats or maybe aphids?
They draw the property line
I found you streamside nudging lilies,
rhizomes thirsty, shoots pink and pert.
I scoured Wiki and ran for the mattock.
Itadori in your native land: strong plant.
Uprooted, you will not be moved again.
Nurtured noxious weed,
a shy spring in '96
my lot brittle and unbearing
I craved ambers, corals, rich vermilion
magnolia pledged a punctual flower
one very sturdy rhododendron
just endurance, then
a rasp against my ready hand
bead of crimson, tiny hurt
full delicious body flush
rugged rippled rugosa
my beds aroused—ablaze
with weeks on end of consummate bloom
so often and so many times
summer roots rent firm and long
autumn hips replete
an insistent settling, ours
and all winter I anticipated
a singular efflorescence
with warm magenta showers
to fill the pane
a gusty spring in '97
I woke up
to limbs outstretched but reckoning
the fields beyond my reach
fledgling shoots, three leaves, six
you'd craved only wild dominion
Katherine J. Barrett is a writer and editor living in rural Nova Scotia, Canada. Her work has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Quiddity International Literary Journal, Existere Journal of Arts and Literature and other publications. Katherine is also editor in chief at Understorey, a literary magazine by and about Canadian women.