Horsetails Return

A cluster of a horsetail plant

Untamed, unwanted horsetails thrust

themselves through shattered fence slats.


Equisetum once grew tall as trees in the Jurassic

then spread along the Nile.


I pick the one that blocks my path,

This emerald spear feels prickly to the touch.


Perhaps these were the reeds that sheltered Moses

or put a sheen in Cleopatra’s hair.


Gold rings, crowned in tiny triangles, wrap around the stem

and on its tip is perched a thimble cap bedecked in spores.


I heard that horsetails healed Greek warriors’ wounds

nourished Cherokee along the Trail of Tears,


and scrubbed the pots of their oppressors. Now I brew them in my tea

an old bones’ solace descended from a dinosaur’s domain.



Poem by Ruth Mota

Ruth Mota lives in a redwood forest the Santa Cruz Mountains of California with her Brazilian husband of many decades. She enjoys facilitating poetry circles to groups in the community like veterans and men in jail and attending workshops by local poet Ellen Bass. Her poems have been published in many online and print journals including Terrapin Books, Passager Books, High Shelf Press, Black Mountain Press and Tiny Seed Literary Journal.