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Kudzu

A survey of conquered lands:
fifteen telephone poles, three
valleys, and the wire skeleton
of a fence line an acre back
from the curve of the porch.
Seven feet a week, when the
weather’s right: humid enough
for the vines to suckle water
right out the August air. Drought
can’t kill it, just makes it sleep,
twisted, drying in the Alabama sun,
until the clouds give back the rain,
and its endless gnawing march
resumes. Burn it if you like:
set fire to the vines and watch
flames curl up hillsides like
shedding leg hair with a match,
but all that does it make it
a little more eager to sprout.
Here’s a secret to keep your head
afloat under the encroaching tide:
kudzu’s worst nightmare – a pair of
small white goats.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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