I sit in a puddle of my own butterflies. No color,
no breathing. Each fractal is nausea fluttering
in fourteen directions. I quagmire. I watch jewel weed
congregate. They stand on red feet in a crowd, wait
to get into the show. No, that’s me. I make a nervous
vessel and I spill like smoke, undetected after a few feet.
A stagnant pool. My power pushes at the border
of my skin, retreating, pouting. Running at it again.
And the understory stands—jewel weed, multiflora,
garlic mustard. Invaders, some.The canopy pours
cupfuls of sunlight, some for the black cherry
and Norway maple and some onto my jittery skin.
And for the jewel weed—red footed, loose rooted,
ready. My pacing finds me in the poison ivy.
I pull up a jewel weed, open the red foot and rub
its salve on my sockline. The way of the woods.
Poison and antidote, proximate and ready. Unnoticed.
Humans are the only animals that rash from poison ivy.
Rash, I bounce off walls of my skin as if I don’t believe
its boundaries. I stand, red footed, loose rooted, ready
to be distilled into the antidote for some illusive itch,
mine, yours, ours. I stand long enough to believe
my borders and pool until plucked, for one use,
free of the burden of decision.