Saturday, November 27, 2010

Euphorbia (The Marriage Plant)

It is sometimes mistaken for

the crown of thorns.

Rooted in a two gallon pot,

the mottled spurge—

false cactus, candelabra plant,

hat rack cactus,

dragon bones—

thirty-five years ago was

one small stalk.

Now it’s man-tall, a dozen

bunched, angled,

and deeply scalloped branches

with black thorns.

It does not flower in captivity.

Its acrid milk

sap is slightly poisonous. In India

they brew up a hot jam to purge


It rots in much water, thrives

on light reflected

off pale walls.

Cut and pot a limb, in a year

it will look exactly like the mother

plant: how we render it eternal.

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