Encelia farinosa, or, Should a lid be lent to extend preservation,
the eye need not be asked
Brittlebush, which pushes its flowers out
as if gambling with an eye: gold coins,
the fist-shaped shrub brightened with a load of them;
brittlebush, which leads to bristle and brush,
teeth taken care of, its resin a prince
holding court in a mouth, rinsed and keeping white
despite its yellowed bloom. The brittlebush
a little bush compared to taller things.
Leaves, not left alone, but a home
to many short hairs, shorting the air
of moisture, hoarding it. Few mouths bore
through the body of the brittlebush,
though boarded often enough. A hover fly
here in spite of the spider that hopes to have it,
to make it hoverless, post-coveting.
Unendangered and to the desert endeared,
brittlebush’s placement engineered to smear out erosion
near highways—itself a burning bush when made
to burn for noses, urns that they are, to store.
Kristi Maxwell is the author of Re- (Ahsahta Press, 2011), Hush Sessions (Saturnalia Books, 2009), and Realm Sixty-four (Ahsahta, 2008), along with the chapbook Elsewhere & Wise. She lives and writes in Tucson, where she sometimes teaches at the University of Arizona, the Poetry Center, Pima Community College, and Casa Libre en la Solana.