“Why We Can’t Use Roundup On Our Lawn” by Maya Jewell Zeller

Maya Jewell Zeller


1. As a girl, the black-branched plums
behind the far fence were mine because
a giant row of nettle and snowberry
blocked them from the cows. I’d lie in a crook
where many limbs came together
and move my tongue along the sticky tip
of a still-hanging fruit.

2. My palms have been stained
again and again
ripe blackberry pink.
I’ve pressed them to T-shirts
like silk-screened bleeding hearts.

3. Your Jesus
is thin; his eyes dark like lake.
He is hungry. Maybe he’ll drink
the milk from these slim green necks.

4. Barbed Wire and Roundup were both
bastard sons of Zeus. They were banished
to America because, as the god himself put it,
they didn’t seem to have any real
mythical potential.

5. Maybe the grass
is a weed. Then what do you exterminate?

6. My first dream of you
was while lying in a field of golden stems.

7. I don’t know how to separate my love
into categorical pros and cons.

8. The lefternmost puff of yellow lies
less than seven feet from where I want
to plant my tomatoes. Plus I think
I may be allergic to plastic.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007

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