Issue Seventeen – December 2010

In Praise of Skunk Cabbage

By Kay Mullen

                                   Water quickens under the bridge, 
                                   near the pond where the gray-green algae 

                                   begins to fade.  Beyond the stone arch, 
                                   the cabbage with their yellow hoods 

                                   and flowered horns announce spring, 
                                   candles flaring among the bracken 

                                   and beige scraps of knotweed.  Soon, 
                                   chameleon-like, they will shift colors 

                                   to the cocklebur and tarweed’s deep green.  
                                   But now they are lanterns in the swamp 

                                   among the clumps of tawny slough, 
                                   whose luster will linger long after 

                                   the feathery spindles of grass die back 
                                   and the elephant leaves decay.

© Kay Mullen