Karen An-hwei Lee

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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 feathergrass to a sloped flagstone
terrace edged by salt river rock, where we settle
with minimal demand on the indigenous scape.

 

Photo Credit: Staff

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