Each fall, after November rains
softened hard clay,
I return to the battlefield,
to wage war
against Himalayan blackberries,
those aggressive invaders.
Driven by necessity, I cut
arching vines down to size,
push the spade deep into the moist soil,
give it a fast, hard kick,
listen for the snap,
then pull the plant from its place.
Without rancor, I kill
a weed whose urge to outgrow all
competition, is part of its genetic code.
If my flowers are to bloom,
there must be rigor
in my extermination.
I know I cannot win, fighting
alone against a multitude.
Trying for a truce,
I leave them unmolested
along the stream bank,
but ban them from my garden.
Were these trespassers to stay,
they’d assault apple trees and rose bushes,
attack me with their thorns.
I strive to save my hands and plants
from these impassive intruders, who are
also producers of a dark sweetness.