Nancy Keating


The girl said, “I wonder
which is a weed and which
is a potato,” and we studied  

the green clump of plants
interrupting our particular part of the row.
I drew her into a discussion  

about how long ago, before suburbia,
jewelweed, milkweed, goldenrod, others
received respect as medicinals.  

Even dandelions, I said, “
you can blanch the leaves, make wine,
boil the flowers, get yellow dye.”  

Weeds are only plants growing
where they were not put.
And I thought but did not not get into  
how potatoes themselves, their fungus,
had been poison to many
of my ancestors in Ireland.  

This way to the analogy:
another case of living things
unwanted where they were.

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