The Jacks inside their pulpits rise,
phallic in folds of yellow – rise
on stems thick from water, swamp, and cress, they rise;
they don’t delay.
They tempt tough palates –
bears, humans eat this plant.
Skunk cabbage feeds large mammals, repels
the more tender – the mice, the squirrels. The pulpit is a hovel
of leaf. Inside, a phallus
of bud, begins, heralds this time of year when cravings emerge – we want all
of spring to taste good.
Nothing repugnant, putrid, or odorous, but what else
can sprout from the dark season when only
the strictly devout survive to behold
the new growth, the first flower
(if you can call it that),
so stout, so brazen, indelicate,
and divinely yellow.
In the woods and fields where I live
cougar stalk deer in winter –
in spring, parts are revealed,
the grey hair exposed in matts, clumps
precisely arranged, bones bleached white.
Here hawk hunts, feathers lie,
grey and rust among pine needles.
Neighbours talk, all is exposed, the insides
of a person.
So little to hang onto so we build fences.
Wood and nails, rot and crack,
fences for distance, fences for harbour
from neighbour, the protection for resentment –
where I live, the permanence of maintenance
breaks the back –
so many fences and so little to guard
the remains as they spill onto the ground
and the feathers.