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The Long Lonely Life of Silphium Albiflorum
for Bruce Benz

by Brian Bulita

January, and white rosinweed is out of favor, 
wind-trampled and crumpled down 
as if buffalo happened by 
rearranging white rosinweed’s ascendant goals 
with spade-like hooves.

January and white rosinweed is not white,
even with an unobstructed prairie view of downtown 
white rosinweed remains brown,
a disguise against the homeless bush-nappers 
who sleep nearby, the north wind as a blanket.

The hill festooned snow in spring,
white rosinweed wobbles in the wind
prone to bouts of brightness. Even the sun
cannot unjumble the green hope of its roots.

Commerce above white rosinweed –
rays, robins, distant aircraft, cloudage,
oddly stacked dragonflies and seed traffic
plying currents under red-tailed hawk.

A biology student stops by the hill in spring, 
hair pulled back, fingers itching for green. 
She has an unusual attentiveness to white rosinweed, 
its endangeredness, growth patterns, sex life, 
its inability to get along with other flora, 
its damaged beauty and jagged defenses. 
Like she’s being paid to be here, 
paid to pay attention, 
paid to touch white rosinweed
in a way no one has touched it before.

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