Cimicifuga

More

Hear the author read this poem

White pipe cleaners,
chalky flags in wind,
sprang up unplanted
at the wood’s edge,
near rocks and icy moss,
oddly in November,
whose days thirst for light.
What an unpromising start,
conceived last summer
in the droppings of a bird
that fueled at my feeder
for the long flight.
Even its English names—
black cohosh,
snakeroot—
sound as though someone
didn’t want it.

Is this what death is like,
hope before darkness,
or is it waking?
On this land once,
a dying woman
of the Montauk people
ground star-white flowers
into a paste mixed with rainwater
and drank to her recovery.
Cimicifuga racemosa,
windsocks riding air
after roses are ash,
your name a rainbow of vowels
that sing of light,
glimmer in bone-dry woods,
blaze in our winter night,
deliver us.

Grace Schulman's recent books include Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems (2002) and, ed., The Poems of Marianne Moore (2003). Her new collection, The Broken String, will be published this spring.
Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In