A pretty name for a small plant
by Marge Piercy
Samphire offers its long fingers
in spring, its stalks like slender
green pricks poking up on the verge
of marshes. Crisp, salty from tides
washing It daily, it grows where
little else can stand the brine.
Some foragers like its crunch,
eat bowls of it raw or cooked.
Some call it glasswort but that
feels wrong. I’d expect some
twiggy thing full of silicon.
Nothing you’d want to chew on.
It gets fat and tough in summer
so then we ignore its probes.
But in fall, it burns scarlet. Marsh
grass turns tawny then pale
as straw but samphire glows
saying come back, admire me.
I no longer please your mouth
but your eyes can relish me:
a girl who played touch football
with the boys, but suddenly
sprouts breasts and dances
along proud of her new self.
Copyright © 2016 by Marge Piercy.