West of the Trail

You wade waist-high tall grasses
brome and switchgrass, some Johnson
rising up as if to protect the pink
blanketing this field in just
one spot the sprawl of prairie
roses’ single petals’ palest tinge
of color, hand after hand blooming

and you brave the thorns
spikes studding every inch as if
to thwart anyone like me gathering
a few sprays to carry back
ignore waving Queen Anne’s Lace
that might elevate the bouquet

bypass the Butterfly Milkweeds’
blazing orange just a single plant
thanks to some errant bird feeding
on fall pods and just to the side
flattened whorls spreading saucers
spun where deer bedded last night
in front of blackberries with green hands

nubbly fruit soon to ripen after
the rain that kept them from drying
on their stems and you kick clover
from your boots already knowing
deer ticks are crawling and you’ll have to
pick them from the top rims check
the cats again that have followed you
into this hot summer afternoon.

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