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Field Thistle

 Herb and spine,
the flat-fisted dream
of stars and dew
formed when he walked
with his telescope
through grasses spotted
by the spit bug.
A raucous noise, the dawn of great beauty and he with his tripod matting the grasses as he walked.
I never saw him dead on a bed of white down.
Never heard past the death rattle, and so, for me, he lives there in the ragged, noxious weeds that make up North America.
He with his freely creeping root system, milk-juiced, the most persistent of all my fathers on arable lands.

by Judith Skillman
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