Purple Thistle

A favorite of bumblebees
but hell on earth for her husband,
it had a humbleness she loved

and she stroked the tassel’s velvet
wherever he figured clods or weeds.
He knew only the bite of its bristle,

uprooting them by the hundreds
and slapping their stubborn roots bare
to ensure gradual death in the light.

They’ll eat up the crop
and be the undoing of us both.
Can’t she see that?

Once, she had hoped to marry
a man whose name was spread
clear across the horizon

where the strands of fence wire
stapled to every lonesome post
strummed like dulcimers by the wind,

a breeze that broadcast so easily
the white secrets of thistle seed
and might deliver her out of here.



This poem also appears in Allen Braden’s chapbook Elegy in the Passive Voice (University of Alaska/Fairbanks).



About the Poet:
Allen Braden is the author of A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood and Elegy in the Passive Voice. The poems below are from the latter. He is the assistant poetry editor of Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments.


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