by Lisa Fields
Dressed in creamy lace
High desert matriarchs
stand tall and proud
their sharp leaves warn the browsing deer,
“Don’t touch my skirt, you’ll cut your tongue!”
then flicker gentle shadows in the breeze
a gift of shade for smaller creatures
Morphed from phallic stalks,
floral bodices gracefully sway
Some will dip too low in their dance and break,
scattering satin petals
* * * * *
Here is a link to photos of some of these desert brides: http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=2620.
Lisa Fields is a contract agricultural journalist for Professor Quirine Ketterings, and occasionally others at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.