Skunk Cabbage

by Paul J. Willis

I’ve seen it in the hollows of the Cascades in Oregon,
and head-high on the trail from Juneau up to the Icefield,
there to perplex
the pink mouth of a black bear.

And here it is along Cedar Creek in Michigan—
dark green, leafy as ever,
moisting out of the dark ravines
like misplaced dollar bills.

But what can you buy this time of year
with skunk cabbage?
Just this: violet, trillium, marigold,
spring beauty.

—from Say This Prayer into the Past

Poem of the Month: April 2014

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