Karen An-hwei Lee
On the Names of Invasive Beauty as Naturalization
Jagged tussock of seed, razored fire-fountain, the hair-length awn of burnished gold, needle finished with a silk-smooth pod called a lemma tethered in the sand, germinating on air-bright silica, a corona or miniature seed-crown latches to my sleeve as I thin the rampant vine-runners under the avocado. Burr of sun-kissed spikelet, part hook, part sail, ornamental Nassella species, a renowned invasive beauty, part foil-kite, part switchblade, angled spawn of drought-resistant angels settled on bougainvillea glow-torches, in the fissures of decomposed snow-granite, dormant seed-bank with a mission to invest without usury, without a return of premium — dear imported kin, do forgive our xenophobia against our heat-loving, wire-grass beauties — rather, let us all endure as naturalized migrants in this incendiary history of exclusion. A wind lifts tufted feather grass to a sloped flagstone terrace edged by salt river rock, where we settle with minimal demand on the indigenous scape.