Issue 17 | Summer 2015


Beneath the swooping power lines
only char and the smell of char abides
where we burned the spiny winged leaves
of Scotch thistle and the barbed
white crowns of teazel—
in the fen, no dusk scent
of clove and of honey drifts
from damask violets
wilted with vinegar to pale
stalks—on the east slopes at dawn
no glow of purple loosestrife
uprooted, sacked and buried
against the tenacity of the dead plants’ seed.

How we need the land’s need
for us, how we set ourselves to watch
for what we’ve certainly missed—
the trumpet vine trespassing again
on glaucous arches of black
raspberry, the creep of bindweed
in the pasture, buckthorn, bittersweet,
honeysuckle strangling wild plums
and old hedgerow oaks—
and how we purge as pestilence
what we name invasive, non-native, allelopath,
weed, what we’ve brought here,
having called it beauty elsewhere.


Michelle Regalado Deatrick is the winner of the 2012 Chautauqua Poetry Award and recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Recent and forthcoming poetry publications include Southern Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, American Literary Review, and Split This Rock’s Poem of the Week. Michelle lives on her family’s 80-acre farm and native prairie and teaches for the University of Michigan’s continuing studies program.


Filed under: Poetry