O Star Thistle by Taylor Graham


They won’t sell you at nurseries,

noxious weed. But you’re easy enough
to find. Through long droughty summers
no one waters you, yet you survive.

You flourish along roadsides and give

a soft jade tint to fields where every-
thing else turns bone-brittle, dead
and dry. You thrive.

Sheep eradicate you. But they’re only

an interruption. Now the sheep are gone.
You creep through fences,
on wind you fly like bees to hive.

I crouch, Star Thistle, pulling you up

by the roots, your bright yellow flower
with a crown of spikes. Shall I
call you sister? rejoice at your drive,

your stubborn, invasive green?

In a landscape burned gray-
brown by the long summer sun,
it’s you who look alive. 

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and serves as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). She’s included in the anthologiesVillanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present(Santa Clara University). Her latest book is Uplift (www.coldriverpress.com). 

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