By Audrey Molloy
Like a shrub,
you can kill a woman
if you pull her,
out of the ground.
though no guarantee—
is to cut her
back, go hard
with secateurs and shears,
leave half of her
to wither on the lawn, her
carefully curated clothes, her
homemade cassettes, her
Press your boot to a spade,
dig out the root ball.
Slice through her
taproot, strand it
in red earth
like the cartilage of a throat,
a pale larynx warning her,
in her new world, her
place in the Garden,
you will never belong.
You have seen me here, writing love notes to the Wollemi.
Regardless, you must notify the authorities.
I am a weed of national significance.
Elsewhere, I am native—useful even:
beloved bramble, Rubus fruticosus, dris.
Behold my barbed curtains, haven for the wren and finch,
see my floricanes—star-flowered, bee-nuzzled, oh so pretty
in the ditches—laden down with blue-black
fruit by autumn. Once, I was succour,
saviour, for the daughters of a famine-
stricken land. You fear my thorny daughters,
taking root in every blooming place my suckers land.
Report me at once.
Rip me out.
No one seems to know about the Monksgrange Woods,
only Helen. She has brought me here to see the bluebells.
We are wearing the same gingham dress in different shades,
apron-style with ruffles on the shoulder. We are wading,
knee-deep in indigo, we are taking off our sandals.
It’s safe here—you could place your hand inside the hollow
of a fallen mossy limb and have no fear of venom.
Flowers can trick you into thinking you can take them home,
but these are not for vases nor for window pots. They like
it here, in shade and light, among the oak and lichen.
One day, I will plant Spanish bluebells beneath a weeping
cherry. They will be as near to the real thing as I can find.
The garden will face south, and my mother—sunworshipper—
will not believe that south can be a chilly, shady place.
Now, the doppelgängers dangle in a different spring
in a front yard barely troubled by the sun.
*Dris is the Irish (Gaelic) word for bramble or blackberry.