POT OF GOLD
by Tina Barr
Stings stitching under the skin, bristles,
like thoughts that roil, like brambles’
thorns that catch at my pants, scrape
bar pins of blood on my forearms.
Lindy says not to touch the nettles;
when they hit hot water, they’ll lose
their sting, but not before, so I shake
them into the boiling. When I go
to taste them though, two small yellow
worms curl in the spoon’s harbor.
Lindy and Ed didn’t tell us they didn’t
have clear title, hadn’t paid their taxes,
so the land we bought is delinquent,
up for grabs. Late, the trees thrash.
I want to set fire to their trailer, want to
bait their place with honey, so bears will
tear their cars open like sardine tins.
I line up people like toy soldiers, whose
carelessness is never personal, the way
poison ivy grows, twines, glossy, reefs
the woods. Foxglove multiplies, its high
combs flowering into apartments for bees,
but in a tea, a poison to serve to Lindy.
Brown recluse scare me the most;
the bites go necrotic. Late in the day
a double rainbow melts its colors away.
Tina Barr’s five volumes of poetry include Kaleidoscope (Iris Press, April 2015), The Gathering Eye, (Tupelo Press Editor’s Prize) and three chapbooks, all winners of national chapbook competitions. Her fellowships include the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The MacDowell Colony & Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Journal publications include The Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, New South, Witness, The Antioch Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Hotel Amerika and The Mississippi Review.
Image credit: Grant Eaton on Flickr