Don’t call me black-eyed Susan.
I am Rudbeckia hirta.
Don’t make me seem trivial
like a frilly child in a yellow smock
skipping across a meadow.
I tell you I am lovelier
and more significant than that.
Notice my chocolate brown center,
containing hundreds of tiny florets,
haloed by thirty rays in deep mustard hues.
My green leaves sprout bristly hairs
to hold water in withering heat.
I thrive where others die.
Did you know I will attract
butterflies and bees to your garden?
And if you are clever,
you can extract juice from my roots
to cure earaches or concoct herbal potions.
I am fast to grow again
after floods, droughts, or other disasters.
Give me to people you love,
who feel pain or despair,
for I bring solace in troubled times.
Rudbeckia hirta is my name.
I don’t want to hear you call me
black-eyed Susan.

Donna M. Davis

Donna M. Davis is a former English teacher and a freelance desktop publisher, who lives in Camillus, NY. She is an avid gardener with a love of native plants. Her work has appeared in 7 consecutive Slipstream Poetry Review anthologies, The Raven’s Perch, Raw Art Review, The Comstock Review, Third Wednesday, Down in the Dirt, CC&D, Stoneboat, Front Porch Review, Pudding, Ilya’s Honey, Halcyon Days, Muddy River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Homestead Review, Burningwood Journal, and others. Most recently, she was first runner-up in The Raw Art Review’s Charles Bukowski poetry contest and was nominated by Slipstream Poetry Review for the XLVI Pushcart Prize.