Pokeweed In The BarnYard

A small pokeweed plant

They grow along the fence line and between the crevices of rocks.  They hide in the thistles and nettles.

It’s very satisfying when I feel the long pale carrot-root slip from the earth.  I hold the plant up and inspect it,  like a prized fish plucked from the river.

But some resist my pulls, even the stems are too tough to break.   These look like the pines that grow along the ocean, low and twisted, beaten back by the harsh weather, but still thriving.

Like most plants, they are easier to pull after it rains.   And it seems to rain every day now.

Like in the spring, those things once buried pop up from the ground all summer.  As I tug on the pokeweed, I find shards of glass, bits of decaying rubber, and a small red ball with the number 3  on it.

I can spot pokeweed the same way I can pick out poison ivy ever since it gave me its itchy rash.  It’s as much a feeling in my body as recognizing the shape, size, color and configuration of leaves on the stem.

A felt sense.

The hard part is that I like pokeweed.

Its tall hollow red stems, the tiny whiteish flowers that turn into those luscious purple berries, clustered together on a dangling shoot. It’s useful too, the berries are food for the birds and can be turned into dye and ink.

But it’s also poisonous and was taking over the barnyard, tempting the sheep with its tasty berries.

Still, these plants I pull and cut are survivors and I admire them as much as I struggle to keep them from growing in the barnyard.

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