Loosestrife

By Greg Delanty

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You have become your name, loosestrife,
        carried on sheep, spurting up out of ballast,
a cure brought across the deep
        to treat wounds, soothe trouble.
There have been others like you, the rhododendron,
        the cattails that you in your turn overrun.
Voices praise your magenta spread, your ability
        to propagate by seed, by stem, by root,
and how you adjust to light, to soil, spreading
        your glory across the earth even as you kill
by boat, by air, by land, all before you: the hardy iris,
        the rare orchids, the spawning ground of fish.
You'll overtake the earth and destroy even yourself.
        Ah, our loosestrife, purple plague, beautiful us.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/11/loosestrife/304337/