Acacia greggi

Devil's claw

Sarah Kortemeier



He planted the devil's claw

for our first-year anniversary.


He planted it with beans

and an indigo seedling.


Together they sucked up all the water

in the bed. The toddler


habanero had no chance. Neither

did the rosemary, which died


in a week of days so hot

we gave up, temporarily, and became


secretaries of ourselves. I can't sleep.

Neither can I. The anniversary


went. I gave him a knife. He sawed

the bhut jolokia down again to let


the leaves come out. He doesn't know

how he will use the indigo.


The devil's claw is also called the wait-a-minute



He learns names. He promises

me stops by the side of the path. He promises


me collections of things made, things grown, he finally

made the compost work this year, all those scraps


and small deaths, all those discarded outer rinds,

combining to richness in a bucket


the way they're supposed to do.




Sarah Kortemeier holds an MFA from the University of Arizona; she currently serves as a library assistant at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Ploughshares and Folio, and she was a finalist in the second annual Tennessee Williams Festival Poetry Contest. She lives in Tucson.