Skunk Cabbage

More colorful than my namesake.
Less odor. Shunned despite

deep butter-yellows
hinting at sunflower fields,

my central flower shielded
by furled green leaves.

As medicine, best to avoid
my bitter roots

without the required skills.
I’ve earned my place—

a bright beacon in waterlogged
earth. Make no mistake—

look, but stay away.

Sharon M. Carter

Sharon M. Carter recently retired from a career in healthcare. Originally from the U.K. she currently lives on the Olympic Peninsula. Fortunate recipient of a Hedgebrook residency and Jack Straw Writers program, her poems and art have been published online and in many journals including “Pontoon” and the “Raven Chronicles, Take a Stand: Art Against Hate” Anthology. Her poetry book “Quiver” was published this year.