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This poem is taken from PN Review 168, Volume 32 Number 4, March - April 2006.

Ode to Pokeweed Maura Stanton

A strange plant rises below my retaining wall
    down in the neighbour's unkempt, weedy yard
growing taller and taller every day, scaring me
    because its rhubarb-coloured stems shoot up
against my deck, leaves the size of sugar scoops,
    and by mid-summer glistening white berries
grow in clusters, slowly turning deep purple.
    I'm sure they must be poisonous, and I worry
about the humming birds and yellow finches.
    Wearing thick gloves, I hack at the plant.
Two days later it's grown back even denser,
    branches and shoots touching my deck rail
as the plant looms over the rose-of-Sharon bushes.
    I've never seen a weed this big in the city
so I search the websites until I locate a picture
    of reddish stems and black berry bunches -
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