After the last melt of snow,
Before the sprouts of spring,
A cattail— parched and joint-less
Stands like an elder;
Its once flowering spike broken by
piggled tufts of pollen.
New shoots and leaves frothing from below
will soon sack this ancient warrior
unless hooves and paws of scavengers
wage the battle first— or perhaps not.
Like the last of the Spartan 300
another form shields the exposed pollen;
Its stem clipped;
Its crisp petals shriveled like burnt bacon
were once as thirsty as blood.
Such a pair,
this cast away bud
upon an infertile cattail:
A remembrance of things