Scotch Thistle*

At the edge
of the garden
I find you—

heads puffed
from a bed of thorns,
the white fluff plucked
by finches clinging,

sending seeds scattering
over fields
already claimed by

        invasive and still invading—

I scapegoat the finches,

run my white hands
along your spiky spine,
prick myself with your protection,

stuff the white of your fluff,
into my open mouth
and sprout a home—

teach you to root, there.

*Scotch thistle is listed as a noxious weed in 14 U.S. states. Its dense stands out-compete native plants for resources and reduce biodiversity. It is also the national flower of Scotland.

Poem by Geneva Evie Toland

Geneva Evie Toland (she/her) is a writer, farmer, naturalist, and educator currently residing on the ancestral lands of the Baxoje people (Ames, Iowa). She is a student and the 2022-2023 Pearl Hogrefe fellow in Iowa State University’s MFA in Creative Writing and the Environment. When not at her desk, Geneva can be found looking for birds and wildflowers, playing her guitar, or in her robe watching New Girl.