Three poems

Prairie Restoration

"me in place and the place in me" -- Seamus Heaney

The grasses and flowers

growing in this park

sink their roots

into their ancestral grounds

that we have reclaimed anew

in our repentant time.

Zebrinus grass,

purple joepieweed.

They are not wild,

but planted as restoration.

A treaty with man

has somewhere held, somehow,

and these first settlers

are brought to reclaim this corner.

Not by virtue

of wind or excrement,

fire or flood,

or the broad extension of roots,

the usual means

by which a prairie spreads.

These grasses and flowers

are set here by guilty hands,

which hope to make good

the trespasses of the past.

Butterfly weed,

sneezewort and vervain.

We have battered the soil

for more than a hundred years,

but healed here

by establishing a zone,