Salsify

Token of a different time,
Star shine on a sandy foothill trail
When I was new, and you,
And love was new and opened
A book, pointing at your name.
Wildflower when not a threat,
I found you rare, a mountain gift.
How could I know otherwise?
Twenty years later, new land and life,
You volunteered twice in my garden.
Writer of my history, I couldn’t
Pull you, why? Once, you opened me.
Confused, I counted myself lucky
That you rose from flagstone
Cracks. I let you live, celebrated
Each morning star, until you flew
And flew in my benign neglect. Oops
And oops and oops and, well, goodbye.
Stately lanced cousin of dandelion,
Giant puffs of parachuting seeds, you
Whose bloom likes to sleep by noon,
Resolutely close your umbrellas.
And when you open, you truly open.
Premonition dawns like a slow leaf.
A year will bring its sunny lesson.
Now I see what you can do untamed:
Restless, grow a family in the wind.
Mother just like me, escape artist,
Taproot deep, stem easy to break.
I dug and dug now dig and dig,
Unable to eat your oyster root,
Having mostly grown in one dog’s
Favorite squatting plot. But still,
I could have saved your progeny,
Those inside sequestered beds,
Dog free, chopped thin and tossed
Into last night’s cast iron pan, friends
Of other more domestic roots.
But work was hot, the shovel
Sharp, without imagination. Wilted
In a wheelbarrow, sunburnt, I eat
You only with these toothless teeth.

2019

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