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Rogue Russets

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Surprised by a frill of white flower
where I'd never planted an eye,
I decided to fence it with sticks

and let the renegade live
in undoctored soil where the garden
gave way to volunteer poplars

and acidic white pine. Why not?
After all, away from the tribe,
in clay where beetles drill

and weeds emerge inspired,
it might grow eccentric, proliferate
and thrive.
When autumn air

said disinter, to fill the bin
for winter, I troweled under
and pulled the stem

until a rabble of rough spuds
red as Etruscan urns emerged
as if to prove

that whatever urge drove
the rogue to sow itself and strive
beyond all cultivation

might offer a vital lesson
to any apostate instinct
aspiring to survive.

Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2002)

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This poem originally appeared in the August 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

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Rogue Russets

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